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#IndiaAfricaSummit: From Kofi Annan to Nelson Mandela, here's a look at some influential personalities from Africa

Vishal Manve | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 7:00 IST

Africa - the land of the Cape of Good Hope is a diverse continent - in terms of both geography and culture. With numerous countries, distinct culture and influence of its European conquerors, the African continent has managed to produce opulent writers, speakers and artists in the twentieth and 21st century.

On the eve of the Indian-African summit, Catch has compiled a list of personalities who had a great impact on the world stage. Read on to know more.

Nelson Mandela

Gandhi_Mandela_Diptik_Getty Images

Diptik_Getty Images

Also called Madiba, Mandela, who was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, was an active member of the fight against apartheid in South Africa. His was imprisoned for over 27 years for trying to overthrow the apartheid regime. He was released in 1990 and became the first democratically elected President of South Africa in 1994. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993.

Desmond Tutu



Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a prominent figurehead in the campaign against apartheid in Africa. He later participated in the reconciliation process to heal the wounds inflicted by the apartheid regime and became a leading global humanitarian and ambassador of goodwill. He was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1984.

Kwame Nkrumah



He led the Gold Coast to independence from colonial rule, and became President of the new country - Ghana. He was the leading advocate of of Pan-Africanism and African independence.

Kofi Annan



He was the Secretary General of the United Nations between 1997-2006. Born in Ghana, Annan was widely admired for diplomatic skills. He is the founder and the chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as the chairman of The Elders, a group founded by Nelson Mandela.

Cleopatra VII



Better known as just Cleopatra, history's most popular queen ruled ancient Egypt. She sought to defend Egypt from the Roman Empire, forming an alliance with Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar.

Chinua Achebe

This Nigerian Nigerian novelist authored the best-selling 1958 classic, Things Fall Apart. Achebe was fondly called the father of African literature. Mandela had once said that "brought Africa to the rest of the world"

Didier Yves Drogba



The former captain of the Ivory Coast football team is best known for his stellar stint at Chelsea FC. Drogba currently plays as a striker for Canadian club Montreal Impact. He is the all-time top scorer the Ivory Coast national team. He has built on the cult-like following he enjoys at home to call for peace in his war-torn country.

Wangari Maathai

Wangari maathai_wikimedia


Maathai is a Kenyan environmental and political activist, who led initiatives to plant trees and the green belt movement. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organisation which focused on planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1986 and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali



Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from January 1992 to December 1996. An academic and former Vice Foreign Minister of Egypt, Boutros-Ghali oversaw the UN at a time when it dealt with several world crises, including the break-up of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan Genocide.

First published: 27 October 2015, 11:29 IST
Vishal Manve @VishalManve12

Vishal Manve handles business and international relations beat for Catch. Previously, he has worked with Scroll.in and Daily News and Analysis and has interned with BBC World News and Gateway House council on global relations. Currently, he is pursuing Law from Government Law College, Mumbai. In his free time, Vishal researches on various aspects of foreign policy, human rights and feminism and looks for people who will share their stories with him.