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30 under 30

#30Under30: Business Category 2019



This year marks the fifth milestone annual FORBES AFRICA 30 under 30 list, and we have introduced a new category of game-changers. Together, they are 120 in total across four sectors: business, technology, creatives and sport. Meet the class of 2019, a stellar collection of entrepreneurs and innovators rewriting rules and taking bold new risks to take Africa to the future.

The list is in no particular order:

Bruce Diale, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

1. Bruce Diale, 29, South Africa

Founder and Managing Director: Brucol Global Development

Bruce Diale went from living on R10 a day to founding a million-rand business.

Born and raised in the Limpopo province of South Africa, Diale comes from humble beginnings.

As a child, he prayed that one day he would be rich and his father would pick him up from school in an expensive car. That didn’t happen.

Instead, he founded a business and was able to buy his own car.

With the R500 ($33) given to him by his then girlfriend, and R3,000 ($202) raised from his younger brother who sold his PlayStation, Diale founded Brucol Global Development in 2014.

It is an award-winning agricultural consulting company with the vision of innovating and revolutionizing the rural agricultural landscapes of Africa.

The company has created their patent product, Gardenizly, which Diale designed with his father.

It is a vegetable tower garden that uses minimal amount of water to produce leafy vegetables without the use of fertilizers.

Today, Diale is disrupting the agriculture space.

“Brucol has grown significantly since its inception as it now operates in three provinces, employs 15 people and generates over R13 million ($877,000) in turnover,” he says.

This year, he plans to make R100 million ($6.7 million) and to finalize the creation of an agribusiness app to help people access funding support much easier.

Looking back at his struggles, he is thankful for the investments his then girlfriend, now fiancée, made.

“I had also read a lot of books about successful business people, so I was aware of the pattern of success and so was my fiancé. We would sit and laugh in the dark because we knew this was all part of the process and that one day someone would be reading our story on a FORBES magazine,” he says.

Diale won the 2017 National Engen Pitch and Polish competition hosted by Engen and Nedbank.

His company was delegated as one of five companies to represent the South African Agribusiness sector at the 2018 Mozambique, Gaza Investment Conference.

Terence Mathe, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

2. Terence Mathe, 29, Zimbabwe

Co-founder: Southern Incineration Services (SISCO) PBC

Ever wondered what happens to amputated limbs post-surgery? Well, Terence Mathe may have an idea.

He co-founded an incineration service for biomedical waste to hospitals, funeral parlors and clinics.

SISCO, as it is called, currently runs two incineration plants in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo; with collection points in Bulawayo, Gweru, Zvishavane, Beitbridge and Victoria Falls.

This is a combined capacity of handling 220 kg per hour of waste, he says.

“This year, SISCO will set up in Harare by constructing Zimbabwe’s first smokeless, odorless, gas-powered incinerator with a combined capacity of 300 kg per hour, so as to expand our operations and cement our position as Zimbabwe’s largest provider of incineration services,” he tells FORBES AFRICA.

One of the biggest milestones he has had in the business was when he was called by the EU Election Observation  Mission headquarters to provide incineration services for all their election tallies and other confidential information.

Mathe has also managed to maintain his full-time job as an auditor while running the successful business for three years.

He plans to leave his job this year and fully take on the business growing it to become Zimbabwe’s largest bio-waste incineration business.

Mariam Manack, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

3. Mariam Manack, 29, South Africa

Founder and Director: iTrain

Durban-born Mariam Manack is a sports scientist, nutritional advisor, fitness and lifestyle coach.

While working as a personal trainer in 2011, Manack became passionate about empowering women through health and fitness.

Without any gym equipment, she would train clients at home using her voice and her gift.

Soon her clientele grew and she knew it was time to set up something bigger.

This led her to founding iTrain, a health and fitness studio for women.

She also hosts the iTrain run clubs yearly and has partnered with BMW Supertech group for sponsored training kits.

This year, she plans to open up a studio in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

She is also a brand ambassador for Puma.

In 2017, she was recognized by the Minara Chamber Of Commerce as the youngest Muslim woman to receive a finalist award at the Business Recognition Awards and the Minara Entrepreneurship Competition. The worth of her business is estimated to be R1.7 million ($115,000).

Khanyisile Madonko-Nderezina, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

4. Khanyisile Madonko-Nderezina, 25, Zimbabwe

Co-founder and CEO: Sakhile Madonko Enterprises

Khanyisile Madonko-Nderezina has had a yen for entrepreneurship from a young age. He has explored various opportunities, from a sweet-selling business in Zimbabwe to founding a student café and restaurant in South Africa.

He figured out the pitfalls SMEs experience that lead to failure, so decided to establish a business that would help them grow.

Sakhile Madonko was founded in 2015 and provides strategy, consulting, business development and growth advisory for small businesses.

His business ventures have not been without their challenges.

“The biggest struggle has been gaining the same ear one would land as an older entrepreneur. Due to my age, many business ventures I had were affected because I was deemed too young,” he says.

“The only way we could prove ourselves was to work twice as hard and constantly prove ourselves despite the constant push-back in business from seemingly more seasoned entrepreneurs in the industry.”

It seems he has finally cracked the formula.

Sakhile Madonko has worked with a growing number of companies in the SADC region and partnered with the University of the Witwatersrand’s Development and Leadership Unit and consulted with over 80 students running businesses.

He employs four permanent  staff and two consultants who regularly work with him, as well as interns who focus on analysis.

They have also launched an accelerator that helps students start and run viable businesses to help alleviate unemployment rates.

Madonko-Nderezina and his team hope to build 1,000 sustainable businesses by 2030. The Star named him one of the stars to watch for in 2018 alongside musician Sho Madjozi and other notable South Africans.

Isaac Mbatha, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

5. Isaac Mbatha, 28, South Africa

Founder and CEO: Sky Tents SA

When Isaac Mbatha was little, he used to sell sweets to his school mates to help his family. He now runs a tent business, empowering hundreds by donating tents, so they can hire them out for all occasions.

Born in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, Mbatha has always had a knack for entrepreneurship. His dad owned a taxi business, a fleet of trucks and a filling station.

Mbatha started his first taxi business, owning seven vehicles in four years. With all the money saved, in 2015, Mbatha invested in Sky Tents.

“The company’s portfolio is diversified as we also supply mobile chillers/freezers, mobile toilets, and chairs and tables for a variety of functions,” he says.

The company has grown from employing three people to 59 today.

Mbatha has international clients including in Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria, Algeria, Swaziland, Uganda, Lesotho, the Seychelles, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

He also strives to give back to the community.

In 2017, he gave away 100 tents to disadvantaged areas to give other prospective entrepreneurs an opportunity at success. Mbatha believes tents are a big business and will continue to aim high.

Sadaam Suleiman, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

6. Sadaam Suleiman, 28, Kenya

Co-founder and Managing Director: DragonFly Limited

When Sadaam Suleiman was young, his dream was to own a car by the age of 20, and so he started to save towards it.

However, when he did reach his target amount, his mother advised him to invest the money and so he invested in a business.

In 2014, he registered DragonFly after noting a gap in the digital marketing field. It focuses on digital advertising, media, branding and public relations.

He rented a small corridor in Nairobi and converted it into an office with a staff of four, including himself.

Since then, the business has grown to a staff of 33 but on one condition; they have to wear comfortable crocs in the office, work hard and play hard.

DragonFly has worked with numerous brands including Nutella, LG and Sanlam.

Last year, Suleiman bagged a gold award at the Muse Creative Awards. The company’s star continues to rise.

“It has competed with multinationals and was recognized in 2017 as the eighth best agency in Kenya by the Association of Practitioners in Advertising,” he says.

Suleiman plans to open new offices in the East African region as well as invest in technology and innovation using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

In 2024, he plans to launch an incubation hub.

Adeniyi Omotayo, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

7. Adeniyi Omotayo, 28, Nigeria

Founder and CEO: Betensured Group

Adeniyi Omotayo used his $250 savings to bet on life and founded a business.

It was 2015 and sports betting in Nigeria had become a new craze.

“There was an influx of betting companies in the Nigerian market around that time to capitalize on this opportunity,” he says.

As a result, he started Betensured Group, a sports prediction service developed and tailored for the Nigerian market.

“This system or website simplified sports betting information and predictions in such a unique way that even the ‘uneducated’ sports betting player could now gather significant information on upcoming sporting events to place guided sports betting and significantly minimize avoidable losses,” he tells FORBES AFRICA.

The bet paid off and Omotayo has been running Betensured for five years successfully.

They have over one million registered users from 70 countries. They also operate in eight different languages and have expanded to Kenya.

One of their biggest highlights was securing an advertising deal for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with Multichoice (DStv). 

Omotayo currently has a team of 23 employees.

“We are on course to have a physical presence in at least 10 other African countries before the end of 2020. We intend to break into the Asian and European markets. We also have a future projection of sponsoring a major European team in the near future,” he says.

David Kyalo, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

8. David Kyalo, 29, Kenya

Founder and  CEO: Koncepts & Events Ltd

David Kyalo founded Koncepts & Events Ltd in 2014 while studying at Kenyatta University in Kenya.

Being a student leader in charge of events and entertainment at the university, Kyalo grew passionate about his role and decided to register a business.

At the time, he and his partner only had $15 to register the business and worked from one of the rooms at the university.

Their first project was to organize a kids’ festival-themed event.

The event took place; however, the clients had swindled Kyalo and his partner of over $2,000 because they did not sign a contract; a lesson well-learned for the young co-founders.

After that, they made sure to put in measures to bootstrap their business.

Koncepts & Events now specializes in event-planning, catering, marketing and public relations.

Since then, they have worked on over 80 events, 35 marketing projects and have won nine awards.

Some of the clients they have had include the World Bank Group and Red Cross.

Kyalo has seven full-time employees and over 10 on-contract employees, based on the magnitude of the project.

“[We want to] have more than 50% market share in Kenya in the next 10 years and be one of the best events and marketing companies in Africa in terms of profitability and quality delivery,” he says.

In one of his first features in a local Kenyan newspaper after the business started, Kyalo was asked if he had any won major awards yet.

He responded, “No major awards, not yet. But I should be on FORBES magazine soon”.

Ogechukwu Anugo-Obah, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

9. Ogechukwu Anugo-Obah, 28, Nigeria

Founder and CEO: BodyLikeMilk

If perseverance had a synonym, Ogechukwu Anugo-Obah would be it.

Having experienced abject poverty and dropping out of nursing school due to lack of finances, Anugo-Obah’s dreams were close to shattered.

However, through entrepreneurship, she was able to find meaning and money.

Because she was unable to afford basic skincare products, she decided to make her own with her last N1,000 ($3).

She packaged it and sold it to her first two clients in a small cup, for N2,500 ($7).

In a month, she ended up selling 50 cups of the cream.

She expanded her range from just skin care products to facial, hair, makeup and fragrances.

With the rise in demand, she soon started delivering her products outside of West Africa, including Dubai, Germany, the UK, Ireland, France and South Africa.

In 2017, she also ran online training classes to teach other women about skincare manufacturing.

Anugo-Obah has been nominated for over 10 awards.

She received the Promising Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2018 award at The Next Titan Nigeria Top 18 Young Entrepreneurs Awards.

“Our goal is to be one of the top 10 world-class skincare and cosmetics brands. [We want] to expand our training centers in Nigeria and Ghana, train and empower over 20,000 women by 2023,” she says.

Dorn Ndlovu, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

10. Dorn Ndlovu, 26, South Africa

Founder and CEO: Entrepreneur Blue Print Africa

Dorn Ndlovu founded his company, Entrepreneur Blue Print Africa, while running it from his dining room table.

He contacted several prominent African-based companies for funding, however none were fruitful.

 “Every door I knocked at, I was sadly turned away with soul-shattering responses as to why they could not rally around my idea,” he says.

As a result, in the first year, he did not make a single cent.

Thereafter, he targeted government institutions and SMEs and in 2016, received his big break from a shipping company, the South African Maritime Safety Authority.

His business has since grown registering a turnover of R1 million ($67,000) in 2017 and 2018.

Ndlovu’s passion for entrepreneurship has also seen him becoming the director of his brother’s company, It’s My Turn Trading And Projects CC, which specializes in engineering and construction.

He also became a shareholder in Joritans Logistics (Pty) Ltd, which deals with import and export of goods between Mozambique and South Africa.

When Ndlovu, who currently has 43 permanent employees, was asked what his long-term goal was, he said he plans to be on the cover of FORBES AFIRCA in 2020.

Busi Mkhumbuzi Pooe, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

11. Busi Mkhumbuzi Pooe, 24, South Africa

Co-founder and Chief Executive: Tshimong

An activist in her maiden days, Pooe once organized a protest through the streets of Johannesburg with girls wearing miniskirts made of recycled materials, speaking truth to power.

It is this activist in her she continues to pursue even in her entrepreneurship journey. Last year, she famously shared the stage with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, former US president Barack Obama, former South African first lady Graça Machel and South African entrepreneur Patrice Motsepe at the 16th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture hosted in Johannesburg.

The likes of businessman Richard Branson, former UN Secretary-Generals Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan were seated among the 15,000 in the stadium as Pooe hosted the event, inspiring thousands.

She was 23 at that time; imagine how many more influential people she could be sharing the stage with in the next quarter of her life.

She is currently the co-founder of Tshimong, a social enterprise providing both the public and the private sector with services such as debating, public-speaking and leadership training programs in line with various social responsibility objectives.

Pooe is passionate about the youth, and together with her co-founder, have partnered with a number of organizations to empower 3,000 youth in the last two years.

They plan to create an academy and curriculum specializing in debate-training for South African youth. Using her voice as a tool and her entrepreneurship as her journey, she is well on her way to influencing more youth as a global activist.

“Debating is a powerful, but unrecognized tool, that is uniquely suited to prepare any child for the world that does not exist yet,” she says.

Sydney Sam, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

12. Sydney Sam, 26, Ghana

Founder and CEO: Workspace Global

In 2012, Sydney Sam taught himself graphic design, photography, videography and brand identity development to grow one of his first  businesses, an underground live music and performance platform.

His work then caught the attention of other students, at the University of Ghana, who would seek his services and consultation to build their brands and products.

The exposure got him his first big client, UNICEF, in partnership with Publicis Africa Group.

By 2015, his business, Workspace Global, was up and running, from a humble Gh¢800 ($155) cash injection.

They specialize in graphic design, website design & development, print & branded materials, advertising, digital marketing (social media), photography and videography.

The business has grown internationally, with a team of 14 that operates digitally in various countries.

One of their major projects was for the World Bank in Washington DC to organize, brand and document the 2016 African Mining Legislation Atlas Conference in Accra. They later went on to shoot documentaries in Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.

“My grand vision for Workspace Global is to create a pan-African online digital service that offers the full range of branding & marketing services in an easy customer-centric web/mobile experience at the client’s fingertips,” says Sam.

Last year, Sam launched OPENSPACE, a platform that promotes business and development discourse among millennials. In under a year they have trained 700 people and held 10 events.

Sam’s vision is to serve his country, continent and create opportunities for its people.

Shirlene Nafula, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

13. Shirlene Nafula, 27, Kenya

Founder and CEO: Crystal River Products

Business Daily named her one of the top 40 Under 40 Women in Kenya.

Never mind that, she was also recognized by the British High Commission among women leading British and Kenyan businesses in Kenya and across the Commonwealth countries.

At only 27, Shirlene Nafula has achieved this and more.

Four years ago, she founded Crystal River Products, a manufacturing company for bio-based beauty and hygiene products after mixing products from her parents’ dining room table.

Her company grew ten-fold and now she supplies her products to corporates and institutions including the office of the Deputy President of Kenya, William Samoei Ruto. Her products have been sold in Uganda and Tanzania.

Nafula, who is a scientist by profession, currently employs 21 people on an incentive model.

“In five years, we hope to have Crystal River Products having an established presence in Africa and in 20 years, have our products sold globally,” she tells FORBES AFRICA.

Kgahlego Rasebotsa, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

14. Kgahlego Rasebotsa, 29, South Africa

Founder and Director: Interior Bubble

Kgahlego Rasebotsa is a self-taught interior designer who went from selling scatter cushions in pop-up stores in Polokwane, South Africa, to designing offices for government officials.

After suffering depression from not being able to secure a job, entrepreneurship became her shining light when she started her interior design company three years ago.

Interior Bubble manufactures a range of office and home furniture and specializes in interior décor.

“My biggest highlight within my business definitely has to be the part where I get to transform clients’ houses into beautiful homes with our own handcrafted furniture pieces. Seeing the look on their faces always lights me up inside and motivates us to do better with our next job.”

Rasebotsa currently employs eight people and plans to open a new furniture store this year to showcase her interior décor and designs.

One of her biggest clients has been the Limpopo Economic Development Agency.

Her mission is to become a top furniture supplier to luxury homes in Africa.

Kimani Adam, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

15. Kimani Adam, 29, Kenya

Co-founder and CEO: Nature Expeditions Destination Management

When Zimbabwean billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa, spoke to a group of graduates in 2015 at the Hult International Business School in the US, Kimani Adam was in the crowd. With ears and a mind wide open and eager to learn, Adam was inspired by Masiyiwa’s speech about starting your entrepreneurial journey now.

Without hesitation, Adam went on to start his own company in Kenya.

Using his personal savings and third-party angel capital, he founded Nature Expeditions Destination Management in 2015.

It is an African tour and photographic safari operator with offices in Rwanda, Seychelles, Mauritius, the US, Morocco, Uganda and Tanzania, with signed partnership deals in Asia and Canada.

The company worked in conjunction with his family business that was failing at the time, called Nature Expeditions Africa.

“I created a global expansion proposal to the board of the group, who were comprised of well respected ‘old school’ veterans in the hospitality industry; however, they didn’t believe in my proposal and rejected it,” he says.

He challenged them and implemented that proposal to create his global enterprise. His goal is to become an “industry powerhouse in the Africa and global photographic tour operator space”.

Ijeoma Balogun, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

16. Ijeoma Balogun, 29, Nigeria

Founder and Managing Director: RedrickPR

At 19, Ijeoma Balogun became the style editor of Nigeria’s largest entertainment and lifestyle blog Bella Naija and won Fashion Journalist of the Year at the 2011 Fab Awards.

She has since been destined for greatness.

With the encouragement of her then boss, Uche Pedro, she decided to venture into public relations and founded her own company, RedrickPR in 2012.

“I started the company from home, in my dad’s study, with zero employees, zero funds, just my laptop and grand ideas to change the PR landscape in Nigeria,” she says.

Today, her team has grown to four.

Her company specializes in designing and executing strategic integrated campaigns, to support enterprises and startups to innovate, accelerate and grow.

They have worked with numerous clients including Viber, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, the Federal Ministry of Communication & Technology, Jumia Nigeria, MAC Cosmetics and Coca-Cola.

One of her biggest achievements was in 2016; Balogun brokered a strategic partnership with Celebrity Services Africa, which offered her company the opportunity to represent local and multinational companies globally.

She also founded Redrick Accelerate Workshops, a platform that has impacted over 150 people, so far, through free workshops and training to improve employability.

Bright Jaja, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

17. Bright Jaja, 29, Nigeria

Founder and CEO: iCreate Africa

Bright Jaja’s drive has always been to improve the skills of young Africans who could not afford education.

So, in 2016, while studying, he set up a summer school to teach students garment-making, bead-making, art, make-up design, graphic design, 3D animation, web design, cooking and music, at no cost.

As a result, iCreate Africa, a social enterprise, was born with the aim of becoming the face of skills in Africa.

He and his team were invited to attend the 44th edition of the WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 along with members from 77 countries and 53 skill-sets.

From he learned there, he modeled iCreate Africa to promote skills in Africa.

The company grew to hosting one of Africa’s biggest technical and vocational skills competitions, the iCreate Skill Fest.

It is a two-day skills competition that features 84 competitors from West Africa competing in 14 skill categories such as brick-laying, plumbing, carpentry, tailoring, hair-dressing and more.

Jaja says over 80,000 people have been impacted by the program and they have managed to secure contracts with companies.

“We rebranded the image of technical skills for everyone to be willing to become part of the skill eco-system we created,” he says.

His team consists of 10 full-time staff and over 1,000 volunteers.

This year, Jaja plans to launch iCreate Skill Hub, training centers and an app to connect skill services to clients across Africa.

Jesse Carlton Happy Ndongo, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

18. Jesse Carlton Happy Ndongo, 27, Cameroon

General Manager: Easy Group

From meetings in internet cafes to running a successful marketing company, Jesse Carlton Happy Ndongo has proven you can start a business from anywhere.

The Cameroonian is the General Manager of Easy Group, an events agency that operates in Central Africa providing marketing, events, print and audio-visual solutions.

In the last three years, Ndongo and his team have overseen over 1,000 events across Central Africa.

He employs 107 full-time employees and 1,000 part-time. But ‘General Manager’ is not the only title to his name. He is also an entrepreneur, philanthropist, writer and speaker.

In 2013, he started, aimed at bridging the gap between the generous and needy.

“After a year, the organization had impacted about 1,000 orphans, with over 100 volunteers in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Gabon and Cameroon,” he says.

Two years later, he published his first book The What, Why and How of Charity.

“The funds raised from the book sales helped assist about 300 widows and orphans with supplies in food and books. Today, we continue to work with 100 orphans to enable them to obtain their A-levels (matric) next year,” he says.

As Cameroon is gearing up to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021, Ndongo says he plans to drive innovation, partnerships and investments  to ensure that by then, Cameroon provides Africa with a memorable experience.

About his FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 profile, he quips: “If this was my autobiography, it would be titled ‘We Have A Continent To Build’.”

Henrich Akomolafe, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

19. Henrich Akomolafe, 26, Nigeria

Co-founder and Managing Director: Akotex Nigeria Limited

It’s easy to see why Henrich Akomolafe’s business is on the rise.

Alongside his dad, he co-founded one of the leading elevator manufacturing companies for high-rise buildings in Nigeria when he was only eight years old. He served as one of the board of directors.

However, as he grew up, the business began to decline.

Inspired by his dad’s entrepreneurial spirit, he went on to look after the business once he completed his master’s degree in Spain.

He changed his career in computer engineering to elevator manufacturing to better understand the business features and functionality.

In 2016, he took over the business as Managing Director and took it up several notches.

“Armed with a better knowledge of the product and a dogged zeal to get the company back on its feet, I was determined to succeed,” he says.

He negotiated deals with manufacturers in Spain, marketed the business and met with investors.

In less than three years, Akomolafe succeeded and is one of the youngest in the industry.

Akotex bagged national projects with the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and others. The staff grew from 20 to 80 employees, all under the age of 40.

Akomolafe then founded BNR Engineering, a real estate and construction company that provides flexible payment plans and options such as digital currency. He plans to uplift the continent as he continues to innovate.

Lesego Mokae, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

20. Lesego Mokae, 29, South Africa

Co-founder: Ditsogo Projects

Lesego Mokae is a woman of steel, literally.

She currently runs a 100% black female-owned engineering company that specializes in metal fabrication, plant maintenance and steel products supply.

Mokae started the business with her co-founder, Tebogo Mosito, from her garage in Maile, a small area in Rustenburg, South Africa, known for mining.

“I remember when we were visited by one of the mine representatives, we were told we need to be professional if we wanted to make it in business,” she tells FORBES AFRICA.

Those words stuck.

 Her business now services six mines: Impala Platinum, Bushveld Vametco, Electro Hydro World, Pilanesberg Platinum Mine, AngloAmerican Platinum and Royal Bafokeng Platinum.

Her business was a national finalist at the Productivity Awards for Most Improved SME in the Emerging Sector category.

Mokae plans to grow the business and have four branches around South Africa in the next three years.

In the next three years, she also plans to enrol 30 learners for internship and learnership programs in the business.

Oginni Tolulope, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

21. Oginni Tolulope, 29, Nigeria

Founder and CEO: Transfurd Limited

Oginni Tolulope founded an agricultural company after being unemployed for many months.

With the belief that agriculture is capable of eradicating poverty and hunger, his company provides agricultural development, management service, farm setting up, farm land leasing and sales, and youth empowerment.

Tolulope currently owns 50 hectares of land in three different states where he plants, processes and packages crops such as rice, maize and cassava.

Last year, his company made the list of the top 100 emerging SMEs in Nigeria by Connect Nigeria and the year before, he received an award for the most promising Agro Business of the Year 2017 by Teras Realtors and Homes Limited.

This year, Tolulope was appointed Vice President of the World Food Program at the Ghana International Model United Nations Conference.

He plans on creating greener pastures for all.

“My plan is very simple. For my food processing business, I want to have my processing plants across the 36 states of Nigeria which can employ over 1,000 citizens in each state.

“On the empowerment scheme, we plan to have empowered 5,000 farmers cutting across the rural farmers, youths and junior level students by year 2030,” he says.

Theo Baloyi, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

22. Theo Baloyi, 29, South Africa

Founder and CEO: Bathu Swag

Theo Baloyi took a step in the right direction when he started his business in 2015 from his room in the Alexandra township of South Africa.

With a savings of R250,000 ($17,363) from his previous job, Baloyi founded a proudly African sneaker brand called Bathu Swag.

“I wanted to start something inspiring and sustainable for my brothers and sisters in the township. Today, we employ 31 people and 17 of those are from Alexandra,” he says.

The sneakers have breathable material and come in an assortment of colors such as red, orange and yellow.

Some have the distinct branding marks with streaks of colors on the sole of the shoes.

Baloyi’s aim was not to be a fashion brand but rather a shoe retail brand.

Bathu currently has three stores and plans to open seven more by April next year.

“We want to penetrate the SADC region in the next two years and Central Africa in the next five years, and East Africa in 10 years,” says the ambitious 29-year-old.

Since its inception, the company has grown 2,136%.

This year, the company won the Young Entrepreneur Award at the 6th Annual South African Premier Business Awards.

Baloyi plans to take this proudly township-founded shoe to the world one step at a time.

Avthar Aniruth, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

23. Avthar Aniruth, 21, South Africa

Founder and Executive Producer: Audience Networks

Avthar Aniruth is a self-taught director, video creator, editor and entrepreneur from the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

Growing up, he spent days watching YouTube videos, researching and discovering global trends that hadn’t reached South African soil.

He used his family camcorder and started making small videos and his passion grew.

He made money from odd jobs at weddings and functions and would sometimes work for free.

That’s when he had the idea to create his own video content with local appeal. He founded Epic Videos, now known as Audience Networks.

The company specializes in the creation of digital and video content for advertising and marketing.

They are currently a team of five and have worked with clients such as Virgin Active, Coca-Cola, Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom, and Defy.

 In 2018, he attended the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in the United States to learn from experts in the video and broadcasting industry; ticking off one of the dreams from his bucket list.

With some of the insights from NAB, he built a green screen studio from scratch and created an online TV show called Eat 101 where South African restaurants are reviewed.

At only 21 years old, his company has signed contracts with major broadcast companies such as SABC 1, 2 and 3, DStv and M-Net.

Aniruth plans to become a major supplier of Netflix content, grow throughout Africa and become a multi-billion dollar business.

“[Our plan is] to stay relevant and be seen as a global leader. We were faced with many technical problems, but we do whatever it takes, to learn, troubleshoot and overcome any challenges,” he says.

Barbara Okereke, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

24. Barbara Okereke, 28, Nigeria

Cake Designer, Founder and Managing Director: Oven Secret Limited

Barbara Okereke’s story is nothing short of sweet.

Instead of coming for a slice of life, she is coming for the whole cake.

In 2015, she registered for cake-baking and decorating training at Fair Cake, a premier cake school in London.

By September that year, she returned to Nigeria and her business officially kicked off in the southern part of Nigeria in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Her life-like cakes will have the average eye doing a double take. Okereke says she always had a flair for art and craft such as drawing and sketching.

But she never thought her talent would be the cherry on top for her business.

“Weirdly, I never really thought about cake-designing at first, until the day I came across a clip on YouTube by Yolanda Gampp, a Canada-based cake designer. Her works were amazing and so realistic, that I spent the whole day watching her videos and downloading a few on my phone,” she says.

Despite being a cake boss, Okereke holds an MBA in Oil and Gas Management which, she says, allowed her to have a versatile and open mind.

She says she plans to offer online training for students who have an interest in cake decorating.

“[I plan to] be the most sought-after cake business by 2023.”

Her business grew by 91% in revenue from 2016 to 2018. Imagine the growth in the next few years.

Jessica Anuna, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

25. Jessica Anuna, 27, Nigeria

Founder and CEO: Klasha

Jessica Anuna was named by Management Today as one of their 35 Women Under 35 to watch, and the US embassy in London named her as one of its global leaders.

She owns an online fashion empire called Klasha. It is a platform for fast fashion retailers serving millennials in Africa.

Featured as one of FORBES WOMAN AFRICA’s New Wealth Creators in March, Anuna founded Klasha in 2017 with an investment of $120,000 from Techstars Dubai, an international startup accelerator, funding and mentorship organization.

After living in China at age 23, she grew up admiring how they did business and decided to do the same in her country.

Anuna currently employs a team of six women, all under the age of 27.

Her platform allows fashion buyers to buy items with the South African rand, Nigeria naira, Kenyan shillings, Ghanaian cedi and three international currencies, with a delivery time of one to five days.

“I do believe Africa has the power to change and be a force economically…” she says.

Anuna, who can speak fluent French and Mandarin, plans to grow the company global.

Charles Edosomwan, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

26. Charles Edosomwan, 29, Nigeria

Founder and Chief Strategist: TekSight Edge Limited

Charles Edosomwan is a qualified computer scientist, digital marketer and holds an MBA in strategy management, so he decided to merge all these skills to start a business in public relations.

In 2014, he founded, TekSight Edge Ltd, a technology PR firm in Nigeria. 

Since then, his company grew from strength to strength.

They now also operate in Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda, with a total of 32 staff.

His biggest year yet was 2017.

That year, Edosomwan and the Kenyan TekSight team won the USAID Kenya Electoral Assistant Program and built a digital platform to support the judicial process for the election.

“This was a massive progress for the team and placed TekSight as a credible brand alongside other global PR brands,” he says.

Last year, he founded another company called, a news brand aimed at helping people understand technology better.

Through the platform Edosomwan invested approximately N6,000,000 ($16,584) to promote poetry and technology which gave rise to the birth of a spoken word hangout called Demystifying Technology, a monthly space for students and spoken word artists to compete for a money prize.

Edosomwan says he aims to leave a positive and lasting impression in the African tech space.

Charmaine Mbatha, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

27. Charmaine Mbatha, 29, South Africa

Co-founder: Millennial Business Administrators

Resigning from her job was a carefully-calculated risk.

Charmaine Mbatha was making a safe transition from employee to entrepreneur.

She founded Millennial Business Administrators, a company providing services for startups, organizations and personal brands on virtual assistance, editing and writing, content development, and speaking. It is a magazine that promotes, inspires, educates and celebrates global women of color for their achievements in life and business.

“It was clear I had to jump without a parachute, by far the most liberating decision and also the most painful journey. Being an overachiever all my life, I’d not known failure and loss until I became a business owner,” she reflects.

The company later traded as The Grit Media to make way for two publications currently known as Her Grit Magazine and His Grit Magazine.

Both publications reach a global audience in over 52 countries, sharing inspiring stories.

One of her greatest highlights was working alongside JT Foxx, a wealth and business coach.

She also had the opportunity to attend his event Mega Success in Los Angeles with over 2,500 global entrepreneurs and prominent personalities like Mel Gibson, Steve Wozniak, Jessica Simpson, and Dr Phil.

Mbatha says her goal is to create more small business owners than employees.

“I don’t have a single employee, I hire people who are freelancers or have small businesses; endorsing a culture of flexibility, innovation and financial independence.”

Shaney Vijendranath, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

28. Shaney Vijendranath, 28, South Africa

Co-founder and CEO: Vimage Media

When Shanéy Vijendranath became a mother at 21, she found motherhood to be a lonely journey as some of her friends were not parents yet.

As a result, she found it difficult to access information on motherhood and baby care and so she went on to start her own platform that answered all the questions she had.

She co-founded Vimage Media with her husband, which has two brands under it; You, Baby and I and MomSays.

In 2016, Vijendranath made her first mark in the blogging community when she won the Kids Emporium’s mommy bloggers competition for her platform: You, Baby and I.

“The You, Baby and I blog is about a young mom’s journey through motherhood and the little bumps along the way. The aim of the blog is to share real stories, connect moms to amazing brands and get the conversation going,” she says.

It was named Africa’s Most Influential Parenting Blog in 2016 by Webfluential and Best Parenting Blog in 2017 at the South African Blog Awards.

The growth in her first blog led her to starting her second, called MomSays, a data analytics platform helping brands engage with new moms using the collective knowledge of over thousands of experienced mothers in South Africa.

In 2018, Vijendranath was the only entrepreneur chosen from South Africa to represent the country at the Collective Global Accelerator program in London.

She plans to introduce e-commerce and AI on MomSays, which could help mothers earn an extra income doing what they love – selling and recommending products and services.

Adetola Nola, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

29. Adetola Nola, 28, Nigeria

Founder and CEO: Veritasi Properties Limited

Adetola Nola sold shoes before he found his feet in the real estate business.

He was scouted by a real estate agent from Grenadine Homes, in Nigeria, who thought his shoe-selling skills were impeccable.

Nola then joined the team and went from selling footwear to homes.

“I made my first sale in the eighth month,” he tells


As a result, he received a lot of exposure, traveled and learned not only to sell houses but also land and real estate projects.

This encouraged him to start his own company, Veritasi Properties Limited, with money he made selling equipment from his shoe business and the two cars he owned.

“I started Veritasi because I realized that most of the real estate companies that I was launching projects for, just wanted to make money instead of offering value. I felt we could do better and create employment opportunities for people,” he says.

They provide real estate investment, development and marketing services.

To date, Veritasi has sold properties such as Star City Gardens, Camberwell Estates in Eleko, which is known for its luxury estates. In less than two years, Nola says they made over N2 billion ($5,56 million).

From a business that started with one staff member, Nola has grown it to 18 full-time staff, 1,300 Veritasi realtors and over 12,000 real estate consultants.

Caleb Stephen David, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

30. Caleb Stephen David, 27, South Africa

Founder and CEO: Versatile Commodity Traders

“From flipping burgers at Steers, to selling insurance policies and everything in between. I never imagined that I would be one of the youngest fuel wholesalers and entrepreneurs in the industry,” says a stunned Caleb Stephen David.

While working as a financial advisor, he was approached by a client to sell fuel part-time.

Fascinated by the fuel industry, David then decided to start his own business and Versatile Commodity Traders was established.

When he turned 24, he received his wholesale license to sell fuel, and threw himself in the deep end, quit his job as financial advisor and began learning the ropes.

It took him a year to sell his first liter of fuel but today, David has built a company which sells 7 million liters a month.

They currently trade petroleum products, diesel, jet fuel, paraffin to South Africa and neighboring countries such as Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

“My vision for Versatile Commodity Traders is to be the largest independent-owned fuel wholesale company in South Africa for local and export distribution,” he says.

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30 under 30

Making Of The 2019 Forbes Africa #30Under30 Cover



This year marks the fifth milestone annual FORBES AFRICA 30 under 30 list, and we have introduced a new category of game-changers. Together, they are 120 in total across four sectors: business, technology, creatives and sport. Meet the class of 2019, a stellar collection of entrepreneurs and innovators rewriting rules and taking bold new risks to take Africa to the future.

#30Under30: Business Category 2019
#30Under30: Creatives Category 2019
#30Under30: Technology Category 2019
#30Under30: Sport Category 2019
  • Words: Karen Mwendera    
  • Edited by: Unathi Shologu
  •  Assistant: Garreth Mtuwa  
  • Creative direction by: Lucy Nkosi  
  • Lead photography by: Motlabana Monnakgotla
  • Co-photography by: Gypseenia Lion   

Judges of the 30 Under 30 class of 2019

The category experts whose role it was to survey all finalists of the 2019 30 Under 30 list, rank them and provide commentary on each candidate:

  • Business: Anthea Gardner, Founder and Managing Partner at Cartesian Capital
  • Technology: Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at University of Johannesburg; he also deputises President Cyril Ramaphosa on the South African Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Creatives: Yasmin Furmie, creative and business partner of fashion brand SiSi The Collection, South Africa
  • Sport: Nick Said, the Africa sports correspondent for Thomson Reuters
  • Audit partner: SNG Grant Thornton

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30 under 30

Forbes Africa #30Under30 list: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport



THE FORBES AFRICA 30 UNDER 30 LIST IS THE most-anticipated list of game-changers on the continent and this year, we bring you 120 of Africa’s brightest achievers under the age of 30 and for the first time, four categories featuring 30 in each: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport.

From elevator manufacturing, solar energy design, to under-30s conquering the Alps and selling out the Apollo Theatre,  this year’s list demonstrates how enterprising and extraordinary the African youth is.

This list celebrates these pioneers who are building brands, creating jobs, and innovating, leading, transforming and contributing to new industries, in turn, changing the continent. 

“The future belongs to Africa and the future belongs to its youth,” says Jason Pau, Chief of Staff for International to billionaire Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba. He says the journey for young entrepreneurs, especially in Africa, is not always easy. Many startups fall by the wayside due to a lack of resources. In South Africa, it is estimated that the small enterprise failure rate is at almost 80% within the first three years.

Chances at success are very slim, yet Africans continue to see opportunity where many do not. The select few celebrated in this list represent those individuals who continue to persevere against the odds. It also serves as a reminder that it is possible.

“People don’t really give enough time or spend enough time in providing the right environment for entrepreneurs to grow,” Pau tells FORBES AFRICA.

So if entrepreneurship is the answer, ensuring that an environment is conducive for business sustainability is imperative.

Together with our audit partner for this list, SNG Grant Thornton, the senior editorial team worked night and day scrutinizing each candidate. For entrepreneurs, we delved into how profitable their businesses were and if they showed signs of potential growth and sustainability.

However, not only does the list look at the financial impact of each candidate, but also their reputation, resilience and ability to be role models to other young Africans.

For FORBES AFRICA, this meant endless background checks, fact-checks, emails, phone calls and research, sifting through over 1,000 nominations that poured in over the last few months. Lastly, the one factor that also played a role in the determination of the candidates was their online presence. Followers are a valuable new currency, and today’s achievers have found a way to leverage off them. This year, when FORBES named Kylie Jenner the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, it observed that her business was built mainly because of her social media and fan following. Many on our list have also been able to build on this in their own way. The creatives and sport stars lead in this regard.

This year, Sport is the newest category, opening up the list to the game-changers who are also Africa’s next generation of leaders. They have won awards, broken records, made social investments and pushed the boundaries by challenging the status quo on policies in sports. However, some of the challenges they still face include lack of resources, a gender pay gap, and an immense pool of untapped talent not yet given a chance to be in the limelight.

But no matter where they are from, these 120 list-makers share one common goal, and that is to build a better Africa.

Being an under-30 myself, I am proud to have curated the FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 class of 2019. At the time of going to press, all facts on the following pages were verified to be correct.

The list is in no particular order:

This year marks the fifth milestone annual FORBES AFRICA 30 under 30 list, and we have introduced a new category of game-changers. Together, they are 120 in total across four sectors: business, technology, creatives and sport. Meet the class of 2019, a stellar collection of entrepreneurs and innovators rewriting rules and taking bold new risks to take Africa to the future.

#30Under30: Business Category 2019
#30Under30: Creatives Category 2019
#30Under30: Technology Category 2019
#30Under30: Sport Category 2019
  • Words: Karen Mwendera    
  • Edited by: Unathi Shologu
  •  Assistant: Garreth Mtuwa  
  • Creative direction by: Lucy Nkosi  
  • Lead photography by: Motlabana Monnakgotla
  • Co-photography by: Gypseenia Lion   

Judges of the 30 Under 30 class of 2019

The category experts whose role it was to survey all finalists of the 2019 30 Under 30 list, rank them and provide commentary on each candidate:

  • Business: Anthea Gardner, Founder and Managing Partner at Cartesian Capital
  • Technology: Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at University of Johannesburg; he also deputises President Cyril Ramaphosa on the South African Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Creatives: Yasmin Furmie, creative and business partner of fashion brand SiSi The Collection, South Africa
  • Sport: Nick Said, the Africa sports correspondent for Thomson Reuters
  • Audit partner: SNG Grant Thornton

Continue Reading

30 under 30

#30Under30: Sport Category 2019



This year marks the fifth milestone annual FORBES AFRICA 30 under 30 list, and we have introduced a new category of game-changers. Together, they are 120 in total across four sectors: business, technology, creatives and sport. Meet the class of 2019, a stellar collection of entrepreneurs and innovators rewriting rules and taking bold new risks to take Africa to the future.

The list is in no particular order:

Clarence Munyai, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

1. Clarence Munyai, 21, South Africa

Track and Field Athlete

Clarence Munyai is right on track to becoming one of the world’s greatest athletes as he shatters more records.

Munyai is the third-fastest all-time junior in the 100 meters-race.

He currently holds the South African record of 19.69 in the 200 meters right under Usain Bolt who holds the record for 19:19.

Munyai also holds the Junior World Record of the 300 meters.

“I have been blessed with a talent to run fast and become a professional athlete, and am thankful every day for the opportunity to pursue my dreams and make a better life for myself and my family,” he tells FORBES AFRICA.

He made his mark in the 200 meters World Junior ranking in 2017 and 13th in the 200 meters world senior ranking the same year.

Last year, he smashed the 200 meters record in a time of 19.69 seconds, making him the 10th fastest in the world ever, as he knocked off Wayde van Niekerk’s mark of 19.84.

Munyai is one of the youngest South African Olympians of all time and has always remained modest on and off the track.

Kim Collins, 2003 world champion in the 100 meters, once told Munyai to ‘always stay humble’ as he was.

Despite his global achievements, he says there is no better feeling than wearing the country’s green and gold colors.

“My immediate plans are to win gold at the World Championships in Doha later this year, and then, of course, focus on Tokyo 2020. Apart from that, I know there is life after athletics and so am looking into various business opportunities,” he says.

Jean Sseninde, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

2.Jean Sseninde, 26, Uganda

Footballer and CEO

Jean Sseninde is one to watch on and off the pitch.

When she was eight years old, she began playing football with her brother in her home in Kasangati village in Uganda. That experience got the ball rolling.

She currently plays for the Ugandan national team.

Internationally, she plays for Queens Park Rangers W.F.C in the FA Women’s National League South in England, making her the first Ugandan female to sign with the team. Sseninde also previously played for the AFC Phoenix Women’s Football Club and the Charlton Athletic Women’s Football Club.

Although she enjoys an international career in football, her biggest highlight remains playing for her national team.

In 2016, the Uganda women’s National football team qualified to play in the semi-finals of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) Women Championships against Burundi.

“The only goal that was scored was from my assist,” she tells FORBES AFRICA.

Sseninde is the founder and CEO of the Sseninde Women’s Development Cup and the founder of the Jean Sseninde Foundation, which sponsors the annual Jean Sseninde Women Football Development Tournament, aimed at discovering and mentoring female soccer talent in Uganda.

Sseninde is also the first African and sole female player from the continent to join the Common Goal initiative an organization whose members pledge to give away at least 1% of their annual salary to charity.

Last year, she scooped an award for her philanthropic work at the Best Of Africa Awards event at the Rosewood in London.

Mohamed Salah, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

3. Mohamed Salah, 27, Egypt


On June 1, 2019, the world watched as Liverpool made history, beating Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League final as Egyptian-born Mohamed Salah led the team to victory.

Salah scored the first goal of the match and in the end, the team had a 2-0 victory. Dressed in the team’s shirt, red as his blood, and with curly locks, Salah raised the trophy with pride in celebration while immersed in a sea of red on the pitch.

He was this year’s only footballer on the list of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential that called him “one of the best football players in the world”.

The iconic figure started his professional career nine years ago playing for the Egyptian Premier League.

Thereafter, his career went international when he played for Basel, a team in Switzerland and then Chelsea.

In 2017, he then signed with Liverpool at a club-record fee of £36.9 million ($46.6 million).

He has since won numerous awards and accolades such as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year and the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year. His next goal is to conquer the next season of the Premier League.

He is currently sponsored by Adidas and has appeared on Adidas commercials alongside David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba, and singer Pharrell Williams.

With a total of 148 goals scored in his professional clubs’ career, Salah is a name that will definitely go down in history books. He is one of the highest-earning sport stars in the world.

Wayde van Niekerk, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

4. Wayde van Niekerk, 26, South Africa

Track and Field Athlete

The man currently holding the world and Olympic record in the 400 metres was born in a small town in Kraaifontein, in Cape Town.

As a child, Wayde van Niekerk dreamed of being the fastest man in the world and he is evidence that dreams do, in fact, come true. The world took notice of him when he won gold at the World Championships in 2016.

Since then, he has shown no signs of slowing down.

He came first in the 2016 Olympic Games in the 400 meters in Rio de Janeiro, and again in the 2017 World Championships in London.

However, due to a knee injury, Van Niekerk was unable to participate in any games last year and he is still on his road to recovery.

After the long and painful wait, he returns to the track and is set to compete in the IAAF World Championships in Doha in September, alongside many other world stars. Usain Bolt, world record holder in the 100 metres and now Van Niekerk’s good friend, told FORBES AFRICA, when he visited South Africa this year, about what advice he gave the South African athlete.

“I always tell Wayde, ‘it is good to be fast and to be great, but if you want to build your brand you have to show your personality’. People will want you to be a part of their brand’,” Bolt said.

After news that he had temporarily withdrawn from athletics due to his injury, he showed love to his fans by tweeting that he was determined to race again. Many look forward to his return this month and, perhaps, more records to be broken.

“The race itself is a blank experience, I only remember the end. All stresses disappear right there. It’s about me giving my everything and leaving it all there on the track,” he told FORBES AFRICA after his 2016 win.

Chad le Clos, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

5. Chad le Clos, 27, South Africa


“Seas the day”, are words multiple Olympic medallist Chad le Clos lives by.

His claim to fame is being an Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games swimming champion.

He is also the record holder in the 50-meter and 100-meter butterfly.

Born in Durban, South Africa, Le Clos began swimming competitively from the age of 10.

By the time he was 20, he beat his hero, Michael Phelps, by 0.05 seconds at the London 2012 Summer Olympics in the men’s 200 meters butterfly, and the world stood still.

Phelps had held that record and the arrival of a young South African caused a huge splash.

History was made and Le Clos continues to do so today.

On top of the many accolades, last year, he was named FINA Male Swimmer of the Year 2018.

He is currently doing plenty of swimming drills in preparation for Tokyo 2020.

The proud South African swimmer goes to show that where there’s a will, there’s a wave.

Genzebe Dibaba, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

6. Genzebe Dibaba, 28, Ethiopia

Track and Field Athlete

Genzebe Dibaba is a woman always gunning for gold.

With 10 gold medals already to her name, she continues to run the distance and surpass many alongside her. She currently holds five world records; for the indoor and outdoor 1,500 meters, the indoor 300 meters, the indoor 500 meters and the indoor mile.

This makes her one of the best female track mile runners in history. The last two gold medals she won for Ethiopia were at the 2018 World Indoor Championships in Birmingham for the 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters.

The 28-year-old’s talents, however, run in the family. She has three siblings who are also gold and silver medal athlete winners.

The Ethiopian world record holder continues to run for her life as she remains unbeaten in the 1,500 meters since the European Championships in Berlin in 2015.

Since then, she has received a number of accolades, including the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year in 2015, and IAAF Athlete of the Year 2015.

Jacob Kiplimo, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

7. Jacob Kiplimo, 18, Uganda

Track and field athlete

Jacob Kiplimo can run for miles. At only 18, Kiplimo is a World Cross Country silver medallist.

He grew up in Bukwo on Mount Elgon in Uganda.

Making his debut internationally, he did what many 15-year-olds could only dream of.

He won the 10,000 meters bronze medal at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships.

His achievements put him in the running to be selected as part of Uganda’s Olympic team, making him one of the country’s youngest Olympians.

In 2017, he came first at the World Cross Country Championships in the junior men’s race.

Even when playing among the seniors, Kiplimo is still a top athlete.

This year, he was second at the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark.

According to the IAAF, he currently ranks fourth in the world for the men’s 10,000 meters.

As he continues to make a run for the top spot, he shows no signs of letting the dust settle.

Watch this space for more.

Sara Ahmed, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

8. Sara Ahmed, 21, Egypt


Sara Ahmed is living proof that women can do absolutely anything and be great at it.

At only 21, she is the first Egyptian woman to receive an Olympic weightlifting medal.

Once, she had to miss her high school exams to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Through the sacrifice, she has a great support system lifting her every step of the way.

Ahmed’s passion for weightlifting comes from her father and older brother who were national competitors in weightlifting.

Among some of her accolades are nine international gold medals, including two golds won at the 2012 Junior African Championships and Youth African Championships.

Her most recent gold medal was last year at the World Junior Championships for 71kg.

Luvo Manyonga, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

9. Luvo Manyonga, 28, South Africa

Track and Field Athlete

Luvo Manyonga did not grow up with much but he had plenty to look forward to. When he started doing long jump in school, he fell in love with it instantly.

“Ever since, I wanted to break the world record,” he tells FORBES AFRICA.

And in 2017, he did just that, becoming the world champion as well as holding the first place in the world rankings.

The same year, he won South African Sportsperson of the Year and South African Sports Star of the Year. His goals this year are to defend the world championship title in Doha, break the nine-meter barrier and defend the Diamond League title.

“There is always life after sport and I am looking at various business opportunities because I know that it’s so important for an athlete to plan for post-career while still competing,” he says.

Giana Lofty, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

10. Giana Lofty, 24, Egypt

Martial Arts practitioner

Giana Lofty started practising karate when she was only six years old.

Now, she practises it internationally, representing her country.

Lofty is the current world title-holder and the 2014 continental title-holder, making the 24-year-old a certified two-time champion.

She won gold last year at the 2018 African Karate Championships in Kigali.

This year, she won silver at the Karate1 Premier League in Rabat, Morocco.

In an interview with Olympic Channel, she said, “I encourage girls to start practising karate or any martial arts for self-defence”.

She is one of over 1.5 million Egyptians doing so and one of the very few women dominating it. “Girls are not allowed to practise any kind of sport, not only karate. So, sometimes they say that what I’m doing is something useless which is against our beliefs. But I don’t think that, so I don’t care what they say,” she said.

It was a milestone for Lofty when in 2013, women were allowed to fight wearing a hijab, allowing her to do what she loves while still staying true to who she is.

Beatrice Chepkoech, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

11. Beatrice Chepkoech, 24, Kenya

Track and Field Athlete

She’s fast, tall and currently holds the world record for the 3,000 meters steeplechase, and her name is Beatrice Chepkoech.

After clocking a running time of 8:44.32 in 2018, the Kenyan became the first woman to break 8:50 and 8:45.

Her career started in 2014 as a road runner. She later switched to track and field in 2015, making that one of the best decisions she ever made.

Among some of the medals she bagged are the two gold medals she received last year; one at the 2018 Ostrava IAAF Continental Cup and the other at the 2018 Asaba Nigeria African Championships.

She is ahead of the pack and shows no signs of looking back.

Patricia Apolot, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

12. Patricia Apolot, 28, Uganda


Patricia Apolot is not one to mess with. She once punched a fraudster and he landed in a drain.

With agility, grace and the heart of a lioness, Apolot’s fighting spirit has seen her winning world titles and putting Uganda on the map through kickboxing. Also known as the ‘Black Pearl’, Apolot started her career in 2014.

She grew up in Ngora, Uganda; her family was barely able to afford three meals a day or give her clothes to wear.

Enduring a disadvantaged life, there was only one thing on her mind as a child, to be ‘the world’s best’ and that’s exactly who she’s become, in her chosen field.

She is currently the reigning Ugandan female kickboxing champion and holds the International Kickboxing Federation title for lightweight.

She earned her title after beating Ivana Mirkov of Serbia in Dunaújváros, Hungary, in 2015.

This made her the first female Ugandan kickboxer to win this title.

She still holds the title and has been defending it for three years now, making her undoubtedly the queen of kickboxing.

Apolot shares her skills and talent training youngsters in kickboxing in her hometown in Uganda.

“I want to believe that a world or a sport without boundaries is a country or a sport well-spoken,” she says.

Caster Semenya, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

13. Caster Semenya, 28, South Africa

Track and field athlete

Caster Semenya is the name of the 800 meters queen dominating headlines in the sporting world.

She has won over 15 international gold medals and the South African golden girl has no intentions of stopping any time soon.

In a recent controversy (where the IAAF wants female athletes with high testosterone levels to take testosterone blockers), the Swiss Supreme Court denied the IAAF’s request to immediately reimpose the regulation on Semenya.

This means Semenya is free to compete without restriction in the female category until the IAAF and Athletics South Africa make submissions to the Supreme Court on her request that the IAAF regulations be suspended throughout the entire appeal process.

But Semenya is not moved and she continues to hold her head high. To many, she remains a champion winning on and off the field.

In an interview with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA late last year, she said: “I like to be myself, I am true to myself. I just like myself the way I am and I don’t want anything to change in me.

“When I walk onto that track, I perform. So, when I perform, I expect people to recognize my work but not just because I am me, but for the work that I do.”

Semenya has plans to continue racing, winning more golds and flying the South African flag high.

“I don’t see myself stepping down; until I’m 40, that’s when I’ll be satisfied,” she said. Some of her accolades include awards at the South African Sport Awards; the People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year, Sports Woman Of The Year, and the Sports Star Of The Year.

She was also nominated for the 2018 Female World Athlete of the Year at the IAAF Athletics Awards.

You cannot put a price tag on an athlete like Semenya. She describes herself as just being  “priceless”.

Emmanuel Korir, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

14. Emmanuel Korir, 24, Kenya

Track and Field Athlete

As the sixth ranked fastest athlete in the men’s 800 meters, of all time, Emmanuel Korir keeps flying Kenya’s flag high.

According to the IAAF, last year, he won all but one of his races.

He holds the record for the fastest outdoor time of the year, winning at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London last year.

He clocked 1:42.05, making it the world’s fastest 800 meters performance since 2012.

He was nominated for the Male Athlete of the Year award in 2018 by the IAAF and won two gold medals at the African Championships, as well as the Continental Cup.

His current world ranking, according to the IAAF, is first place in the 800 meters.

He plans to set records at the World Championships in Doha this year.

“I can’t go and sleep even after the season ends. I have to work harder to be ready for Doha. It is a title that I long for in between now and then,” Korir told Capital Sports last year. He is also signed to Nike.

Faith Kipyegon, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

15. Faith Kipyegon, 25, Kenya

Track and field athlete

It is said that when Faith Kipyegon was a baby, she completely skipped the crawling stage and went straight to walking. She certainly has not stopped since.

Speaking to NTV Kenya, Mzee Kipyegon revealed that his daughter was extraordinary growing up.

As an adult, she is one of Kenya’s long-distance trailblazers.

Her last international race saw her winning gold and beating one of the world’s best, Caster Semenya, at the World Championships in London in 2017.

She recently returned to the track from maternity leave making her first return to action in two years, and is currently training for the next big race at the 2020 Olympics.

Kipyegon also won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics and gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

She has stood on pedestals with the world’s best, and will continue to stand tall.

Francine Niyonsaba, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

16. Francine Niyonsaba, 26, Burundi

Track and Field athlete

Francine Niyonsaba made history in 2016 when she won Burundi’s first Olympic medal in 10 years.

She won a silver medal, finishing second in the 800 meters Rio de Janeiro Olympics race.

She came second to her rival on the track and friend off the track, Caster Semenya.

Since then, she has gained speed at earning the gold medals at the 800 meters at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland, and last year, at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

For Niyonsaba, running had always been in her blood.

When speaking to FORBES AFRICA last year, she said that the challenge women face in Burundi is that they feel they can’t achieve anything elsewhere in the world.

“In Burundi, in our culture, women believe they cannot do something special in the world, but it is just a mentality,” she said. “A woman can do everything!”

This year, Niyonsaba revealed that she would be affected by the IAAF ruling on Semenya.

In an interview with Olympic Channel, she openly discussed her hyperandrogenism and the difficulties she has faced in becoming a top-level athlete.

“For sure, I didn’t choose to be born like this, what am I?…I love myself, I will still be Francine. I will not change,” she told them.

The 26-year-old is passionate about inspiring other women in sport and putting Africa on the map.

She ranks third in the Women’s 800m in the IAAF world rankings.

Kagiso Rabada, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

17. Kagiso Rabada, 24, South Africa


Kagiso Rabada’s bowling style is nothing short of a visual treat as he has been known to make many seasoned cricketers feel rather googly as his balls approach them.

Last year, he became the youngest bowler to take 150 test wickets, and Wisden named him the Best Young Player In The World.

His rise to fame in the cricket world was as fast as the balls he delivers.

He had his biggest year in 2016 as he went home with six awards at Cricket South Africa’s annual dinner, including the prize for Cricketer of the Year.

He currently is a fast bowler for the Highveld Lions, a South African cricket team, as well as the national team, the Proteas.

Off the field, Rabada, known as KG, is humble and grounded.

The cricket star founded an initiative called Inspire and Ignite under his foundation, the Kagiso Rabada Foundation. It was reported that early this year he sponsored 2,500 youth under the age of 25 with sports equipment to advance their talent and skills.

It’s best not to take your eyes off him.

Ruhan van Rooyen, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

18. Ruhan van Rooyen, 24, South Africa

Paralympic track and Field Athlete

Ruhan van Rooyen was born with cerebral palsy in his lower left arm and foot.

But that has not stopped him from representing his country internationally in track and field.

Van Rooyen is a Paralympics athlete from the Western Cape in South Africa specializing in the 100 meters and 200 meters T37.

He made his debut in 2013 when he was named Junior Athlete of the Year by the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled.

One of his biggest achievements was being selected to compete at the 2017 World Championships in London, England.

He ranked sixth in the World Championships at the 200 meters T37 and 100 meters T37, while locally, he ranked second in both events.

Next on his agenda is to compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

When he isn’t on the track, he doubles up as a YouTuber, enjoys cycling and is also pursuing a career as a chartered accountant.

His coach said in one of his YouTube videos that “Ruhan is a very dedicated athlete”.

“I really believe Ruhan has what it takes to, not only be top three in the world, but to be the best in his events which is the 100 and 200 meter sprints,” he said.

Sadio Mane, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

19. Sadio Mane, 27, Senegal


Sadio Mané comes from Bambali, a village in Senegal where boys play street football until sunset with red earth clinging on to their clothes.

Now, Mané currently captains the Senegal National Team and is a winger for Premier League club Liverpool.

He started his career at a Senegalese football academy, then made his international debut for Metz, a French football team in 2012. He played for FC Red Bull Salzburg and Southampton before moving on to Liverpool in 2016 for a fee of £34 million ($43 million), making him the most expensive African player in history, at that time.

Last year, he scored a hat-trick for the club and overtook fellow countryman Demba Ba’s record of 43, to become the highest-scoring Senegalese in Premier League history.

Since then, he has become one of the top performers in the team.

He was joint recipient of the Premier League Golden Boot with 22 goals, and was part of the Liverpool team that won the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final.

With his impressive record in the Premier League, the Senegalese won Premier League Player of the Month in August 2017 and March 2019. He was also awarded the Premier League Golden Boot 2018 and 2019. On the continent, he has represented the Senegal national team at the 2012 Olympics, 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Speaking to BBC, Fodé Boucar Dahaba, the President of the Regional League, says that whenever Mané returns home, he remains humble and dressed in shorts like everyone else in the village.

Sabrina Simader, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

20. Sabrina Simader, 21, Kenya

Alpine skier

Sabrina Wanjiku Simader was born in Kilifi, a small town on the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya, unaware that one day she would be conquering winter slopes in the alpine ski world.

Today, the 21-year-old Kenyan is a world-renowned ski racer.

But she is as humble as her early days on the mountain slopes.

She learned to ski in Hansberg, a small mountain in Austria. “Even as a little girl, I was fascinated by the white sparkling snow and the wonderful feeling of riding down the slopes,” she says. With some encouragement from her step-dad, a passionate skier at one time, she decided to pursue skiing. Her biggest achievement was when she became a triple Styrian champion in the Super G, giant slalom, combination and second in the Slalom in 2012.

“He was always proud of me and took a lot of time to train and support me in all races. Unfortunately, in June 2012, he died too early. For my mum and I, things became very difficult,” she says.

Her ski coach Christian Reif, coach of the Kenya National Ski Team, took on the ropes to groom her in the winter sport.

“Sabrina is for Kenya and for the whole world an inspiration, as a real Kenyan not from an alpine nation. And she shows that nothing is impossible, and you can reach anything with intensive work, effort and discipline,” he tells FORBES AFRICA.

Simader represented Kenya at the Winter Youth Olympics in 2016 in Lillehammer, Norway.

She was nominated for the Sports Woman of the Year and the Youth of the Year awards in the African Women in Europe organization 2017.

She plans to conquer the Winter Olympic Games in 2022 in China and the Alpine Ski World Championships in Italy in 2021, making her the second Kenyan after Philip Boit to represent the East African nation at the Winter Games.

She founded the Kenya Ski Association to groom other young Kenyans in the sport.

Gerson Domingos, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

21. Gerson Domingos,23, Angola


Gerson Domingos is one of the youngest players in the Angolan national basketball team and he plays a very important position, point guard.

He was named Most Valuable Player at The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Africa U18 Championship 2014, and he is part of the new generation of Angola’s young talent.

He made his debut for the senior team in 2016 at the Belgrade FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2016. He wears Angola on his heart and hopes to go down in their history books.

In an interview with FIBA, he said: “I have always dreamed of playing against the best teams in the world, and if I am healthy, I will do everything to keep the Angolan flag flying high. We have a history of playing at big basketball events and I hope to be part of Angola’s successful history.”

Angola is ranked in the top 50 national teams according to FIBA world rankings.

Siya Kolisi, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

22. Siya Kolisi, 28, South Africa

Rugby player

Siya Kolisi stands as a dream fulfilled for the South African nation when he became the first-ever black captain of the Springboks.

It was exactly a year ago when he first captained South Africa’s national rugby team, the Springboks, on home turf against England while donning the number 6 jersey, the number famously worn by Nelson Mandela at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

It was a step in the right direction, echoing Mandela’s vision which sought to unite a racially divided South Africa through rugby that year.

“Sport has the power to change the world… It has the power to inspire,” he said to the thousands.

Twenty-four years later, Kolisi has inspired many as well.

“I’ve learned that no matter where you come from, or what your background is, you can aspire to be whatever you want to be,” he said in an Instagram post.

Weighing 102kg, just shy of the average rugby player’s weight estimated to be 105.1kg, he carries the hopes of many on his shoulders.

He also captains the Stormers, a team which is part of the South African Rugby Union, and is based in the Western Cape province.

Despite his knee injury preventing him from playing, many hope for his return this month in a shortened Rugby Championship against Australia at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

This year, Kolisi was nominated for a prestigious Laureus Sports Award under the category of Sporting Moment of the Year for his role in ‘uniting the rainbow nation’.

Thembi Kgatlana, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

23. Thembi Kgatlana, 23, South Africa


The dusty grounds of Mohlakeng, a township west of Johannesburg, is where Thembi Kgatlana honed her talents.

Yet, on some of the world’s greenest international pitches is where she won her awards.

Whenever she gets the ball, she displays sophisticated athleticism, making it difficult to take your eyes off her as she leverages speed, agility and impressive dribbling skills to get the ball behind the net.

Kgatlana is a product of South Africa’s Banyana Banyana women’s football team, and she also plays for the Beijing BG Phoenix FC in the Chinese Women’s Super League.

She also previously played for Houston Dash in Texas, US.

When speaking to FORBES WOMAN AFRICA late last year, she said her goal had always been to play abroad and make a living out of her passion.

“It’s a dream I have been working towards for the whole of my life, since I started playing as an eight-year-old, working my way through the junior national teams, then to the senior national team. It’s been a long and hard road, but I’m here now,” Kgatlana said. After representing South Africa at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations, she was named Player of the Tournament and was the highest goal scorer.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

24. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 29, Gabon


If there’s one person who loves the biggest blockbuster movie of 2018, Black Panther, it is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. After scoring two goals for Arsenal against Rennes earlier this year, the footballer celebrated by wearing a Black Panther mask and did the signature pose with his two arms crossed over his chest

It was a true ‘Wakanda Forever’ moment.

When interviewed after the match by BT Sport, he said: “I needed a mask [which would] represent me so it’s Black Panther and in Gabon, we call the national team the panthers of Gabon, so it represents me.”

Loved by many back home, Aubameyang is a superhero in his own right. He has previously won African Footballer of the Year, Top Scorer and the French League Cup.

This year, he received the Golden Boot.

 The 29-year-old Gabonese professional footballer plays for the Arsenal in the Premier League and is the captain of the Gabon national team.

It seems the apple has not fallen far from the tree as, Aubameyang’s father, Pierre-François Aubameyang “Yaya”, is a retired Gabonese international and national footballer.

Aphiwe Dyantyi, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

25. Aphiwe Dyantyi, 24, South Africa

Rugby player

Last year, Aphiwe Dyantyi won the Breakthrough Player Year Award at the World Rugby Awards for his outstanding performance on the field.

An emotional Dyantyi accepted his award in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

“It’s been a blessing. I have been truly blessed in so many ways and the people that I have had around me, people that have helped me in the last few years have truly been amazing,” he said as part of his acceptance speech.

Dyantyi has been described as a natural-born player and his skills on the field can attest to that.

Coming from humble beginnings, he was born in Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

He plays for the South African national team, the Springboks.

He also plays for the Lions in Super Rugby, the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup and the Golden Lions XV in the Rugby Challenge.

He started his career in rugby while he was studying at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

There, he played for the UJ senior team in the Varsity Cup before moving to play in the provincial championships.

Dyantyi not only strives to make a difference for his country but also for those around him.

Percy Tau, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

26. Percy Tau, 25, South Africa


He plays for the Union SG and Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion, and the South African national team, Bafana Bafana.

His football career started in 2013 when he played for Mamelodi Sundowns in the Premier Soccer League.

Since then, he has kicked it up a notch and has been climbing the football ladder. He made his debut with English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion last year, signing a four-year contract.

However, Tau experienced issues obtaining a UK work permit and was loaned out to join Union SG, a Belgium football club.

The loan was a blessing in disguise for Tau as he went on to score four goals for the team in six appearances, helping the club reach the semi-finals.

He then won the Player of the Season award and was in the league’s team of the season.

Last year, he was one of South Africa’s goal scorers as the nation recorded its largest-ever victory with a 6-0 win over Seychelles in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

He won Premier Soccer League’s Player of the Season for 2017 to 2018.

But what makes this Mpumalanga-born South African one of the most talked-about footballers in the country?

When speaking to local publication Sport24, Tau expressed his love for football no matter where he plays.

“I think everyone is happy when they’re playing football, so, yeah… football is football. Regardless of where you play, if you focus on the football, then everything else becomes easier,” he said.

Quinton de Kock, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

27. Quinton de Kock, 26, South Africa


This Johannesburg-born 26-year-old is a wicketkeeper and batsman known for his fearless striking and handy glove work.

Early in his career, he has been compared to some of the greats in cricket like Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher.

Cricket experts have considered him to be one of the most promising young wicketkeepers of this decade.

He plays for the South African national team, the Proteas, a local team called the Titans and internationally, for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

He made his debut for the national T20 team against New Zealand in 2012, scoring 28 off 23 balls while chasing.

Since then, he has been making quite an impression in the sport.

He was named Cricketer of the Year at Cricket South Africa’s 2017 Annual Awards.

One of his other milestones is being the fastest South African to reach 1,000 ODI runs.

Alex Iwobi, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

28. Alex Iwobi, 23, Nigeria


If your uncle is award-winning Nigerian professional footballer, Jay-Jay Okocha, it is possible those good genes would place you at the top tier of the football ladder.

Alex Iwobi is blessed to live up to his uncle’s legacy.

Iwobi has been described as smooth and dangerous with the ball.

At only 23, he is skilled on the pitch and shows promise as he is one of Africa’s rising football stars.

Iwobi currently plays for Premier League club Arsenal and the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles.

He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and left his home country at the age of four.

He joined Arsenal in 2004, however, started playing with the senior team in 2015.

In that same year, he started playing for Nigeria, making his debut at the 2016 Summer Olympics when he was selected for their 35-man provisional squad.

The following year, he scored for Nigeria in a 1-0 win over Zambia.

This secured the Super Eagles a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Speaking to BBC Sport earlier this year, he said he was proud to be related to Okocha.

“I can never get tired of people comparing us. I see my uncle as an idol, someone I have always looked up to as a footballer,” he said.

 “I still have a long way to go, maybe one day, I can be on his level or greater.”

Akani Simbine, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

29. Akani Simbine, 25, South Africa

Track and Field Athlete

Akani Simbine was born a winner.

Born in Kempton Park, South Africa, Simbine has lifted the coveted crown as the country’s fastest man.

He broke the South African record in the 100 meters with a time of 9.89 seconds in 2016, which became one of his personal bests. He further sped on to win more accolades.

His current world ranking position, according to the IAAF, is sixth on the men’s 100 meters.

Among the 10 international medals he has, five of them are gold.

Simbine has been nothing short of consistent; he remains one of South Africa’s best track and field champions. He currently has deals with Mercedes-Benz and Adidas.

Margaret Nyairera Wambui, member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019. Picture: Supplied

30. Margaret Nyairera Wambui, 23, Kenya

Track and Field Athlete

Margaret Wambui won her first international gold medal when she was only 19, at the World Junior Championships in the US.

She went from running in a small town in Nyeri County, Kenya, to some of the world’s largest arenas.

Today, she has over four more international accolades, including a bronze medal from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

By then, she had her signature celebration style ready, placing one hand on the hip and the other in the air with a triumphant beaming smile.

Last year, she earned herself a second spot at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, receiving the silver medal, after Caster Semenya.

Like Semenya, Wambui has also been faced with questions regarding her testosterone levels.

However, according to reports, she has not been forced to undergo tests for hyperandrogenism.

Her current world ranking, according to the IAAF, in the Women’s 800 meters is 15.

At only 23, Wambui has achieved only what some of her peers dream of.

Imagine what the next seven years have in store for her. A gold medal for Kenya is closer than we think.   

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