The 2018 Forbes Africa under 30 list has been released and 14 are from South Africa.
Divided into three sectors: business, technology and creative – Forbes describes the list as their “authentic and most definitive list of Africa’s most promising young change-makers.”
Actress Thuso Mbedu has taken the number one spot followed by rapper Cassper Nyovest, fashion designer Orapeleng Modutle, actress Nomzamo Mbatha takes the fourth spot while musician Kwesta wraps up the top five.
Mbedu is a Wits graduate who raised South Africa’s flag high when nominated in the ‘Best Performance by an Actress’ category at the 2017 International Emmy Awards for her role as Winnie on Mzansi Magic’s TV drama Is’thunzi. She made her on-screen debut in 2014 in the Mzansi Magic drama series Saints and Sinners.
Cassper, whose real name is Refiloe Phoolo, signed a record deal with Impact Sounds at just 17 years old. He produced hits like Gusheshe, Malome and Mama I Made It. He has shared the stage with international artists such as Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Wizkid and Wiz Khalifa.
The rapper also started his own record label Family Tree the same year he released his debut album Tsholofelo.
He has also respected for his ‘Fill-Up the Dome’ and ‘Fill-Up FNB Stadium’ initiatives.
Modutle founded and established Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue which has gradually grown into a budding fashion empire based in Brooklyn, Pretoria.
He has dressed such names as Bonang Matheba, Thando Thabethe, Minnie Dlamini, Pearl Modiadie and Nigerian Toke Makinwa
Nomzamo Mbatha has acted on television drama such as Isibaya and Umlilo; films such as Tell Me Sweet Something, The Jakes Are Missing, All About Love and A Hotel Called Memory.
In 2015, she joined the likes of Kerry Washington and Jennifer Garner as the face of Neutrogena. Her career continued to grow and she caught the eye of PUMA South Africa who signed her on as an ambassador alongside Usain Bolt and Rihanna.
Kwesta, born Senzo Mfundo Vilakazi, burst on to the music scene with the release of his debut single Shap Fede when he signed to Buttabing Entertainment, an independent record label founded by Skwatta Kamp.
Since then, he has released a quintuple platinum hit single Ngud’, which is one of only two hip-hop singles to have summited the South African radio airplay chart and appeared on the US’ Sway In The Morning, topping the Top 5 Freestyles of 2017.
In 2016, she had two number one hit singles under her belt – namely Back to the Beach featuring Kyle Deutsch (also a former Idols’ contestant) and Let You Know. Back to the Beach was a chart-topper and won ‘Best Pop & Alternative’ at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2016.
Putuma is a poet, director, playwright and author. Her bestselling book, Collective Amnesia tackles race, sexuality, class, politics, and poetry. Author Lawrence Schimel described it as the most exciting book he read last year.
Poet Koleka Putuma
Nsikayesizwe David Ngcobo, aka Nasty C, has been rapping since he was nine years old. His single Juice Back and the ensuing remix featuring Davido and Cassper Nyovest made him a household name. In 2016, Nasty C delivered his debut album Bad Hair and gave it away for free.
His work has earned him many accolades, including the Tollman Award for Visual Arts in 2015 and a Michaelis Prize at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. His recent work has evolved beyond the socio and political context of South Africa to include influences from books such as Ben Okri’s The Famished Road, Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shoreand Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying.
Founder of Rich Factory, her journey into the big world of fashion started as a means to make extra money to pay her university fees. Today, the Zambian-born, Botswana-raised and South African-based designer has dressed many celebrities such as South African musician Zahara and actresses Terry Pheto and Nomzamo Mbatha.
Fashion designer Rina Chunga-Kutama
You may recognise her as Dintle on e.tv’s Scandal!. The award-winning actress fell in love with performing arts at an early age. She started performing on-stage plays at 13 years old. After studying acting, she bagged a leading role in Second Chances. The 29-year-old creative is also an entrepreneur. She recently opened a Gorge Grab n Go Café franchise at the Sandton Gautrain station in Johannesburg.
This multi-talented creative is a must-watch. Dubbed Cape Town’s “coolest girl” by Vogue, she won the prestigious 2017 Miami Beach Pulse Prize for her Ode to She photographic exhibition. She got an opportunity to display this work at the Pulse Art Fair in Miami. Her famous black Coca-Cola series and her thought-provoking self-portraits have earned her a place on the world stage with exhibitions as far as New York.
Visual artist Tony Gum
Anathi Mnyango, popularly known by his stage name ANATII, is one of the most sought-after South African music producers. He is an Afro-neo soul artist who has worked with the likes of DJ Khaled, Erykah Badu, Omarion, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, AKA and other local and international artists. His hard work has earned him multiple national and continental nominations and awards.
One of the biggest actresses to come out of South Africa, you may know her from her role as ‘Alison DiLaurentis’ on the ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars. She is set to return in the show’s spinoff, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists next year. Pieterse is also a musician. She released four country singles in 2013.