Mary Sibande

Mary Sibande was born on April 11, 1982, in Barberton South Africa. Mary was raised by her Grandmother, due to her mother being a domestic worker and her father being in the army. She describes her childhood as perfect, she had the ideal childhood in her eyes. Growing up she went to a multiracial school…

Miriam Makeba

Musician, mother, activist, and “Mama Africa”— Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932-2008) was all of these things and more. She was born in a township called Prospect, just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa to a Swazi mother and Xhousa father. Miriam was only eighteen days old when she was sent to prison with her mother for six…

Michael February

Michael February was born in 1993 in Cape Town, South Africa. Michael’s interest in surfing flourished around age 8 when his dad, Issac February, took him surfing for the first time. When Michael’s dad was young, he wasn’t allowed to surf at some beaches because of the racial tension and apartheid going on in South…

Mpho Gift Ngoepe

Mpho Gift Ngoepe was born on January 18, 1990 in St. Pietersburg, South Africa (Baseball Reference-Gift Ngoepe). His name originates from an experience his mother, Maureen, had when she was three months pregnant with him. At this point in her life Gift’s father had just left her and she was struggling for survival under an…

Christiaan Barnard

Born on November 8th, 1922 in Beaufort West, South Africa, Dr. Christiaan Barnard was a cardiothoracic surgeon who performed the first human to human heart transplant (Billimoria). He is world-renowned for his daring achievements in the medical community. Family Life Growing up, Dr. Barnard’s family struggled financially on account of his father working as a…

Jordy Smith

Jordy Smith is a South African surfer who is a serious contender for the World Title in the World Surf League (WSL). He was born on February 11, 1988 in Durban, South Africa to Graeme and Luellen Smith. (Red Bull) His parents were very supportive of him and gave him the room he needed to…

Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey

“I will do my duty as the Volksraad wishes, and you will still find me in the field long after you and these rabble that wage war with their mouths have fled this land” -de la Rey (translation) Jacobus ‘Koos’ de la Rey was an innovative South African general during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War (Pretorius,…

Miriam Makeba

Singer, political activist, philanthropist, mother, “Mama Africa” — Miriam Makeba (1932-2008) was all of the above. She was born in Prospect, a black township outside of Johannesburg, South Africa to a Swazi mother and Xhosa father during a time of severe economic depression when apartheid still had a tight hold on the country. Just eighteen…

Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a well-known South African singer-songwriter, humanitarian and entrepreneur. She was born as Yvonne Machaka on the 18th of March 1965 in Dobsonville, Soweto. Her early childhood seemed to be rather challenging since she was born into a family that was struck by poverty and when she was 11 years old her…

Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah was born on February 20, 1984 in Johannesburg, South Africa (Walker). At the time of his birth, Apartheid was still a looming social issue in the country. Trevor, was the son of a black mother and white father, forced to live in the shadows for a large part of his childhood due to the…

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu was a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa who advocated for justice and human rights. He is one of the most renowned church leaders who fought for the rights of black people in South Africa and continues to promote morality and justice today. Desmond Tutu accomplished much in his life….

Christiaan Barnard

Born to a minister of the dutch reformed church and shunned by a majority of South African white citizens, Christiaan Barnard grew up to become the first South African cardiac surgeon to perform the first human-to-human heart transplant. Barnard began his formal education at the University of Cape Town Medical school where he received his…