By Socrates Mbamalu
South African comedian Trevor Noah, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Kenyan anti-genital mutilation activist Nice Nailantei Leng’ete were among the Africans listed among the TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people.
TIME magazine has released its list of 100 most influential people in the world. The list covers categories from leadership to pioneer to arts.
Some Africans were listed among the 100 most influential people, including Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who recently took over the mantle of leadership from former President Robert Mugabe. President Mnangagwa was listed among other leaders like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, among others.
Pastor Evan Mawarire, a democratic activist who started the #ThisFlag on Twitter was vocal against former President Robert Mugabe. He was arrested and imprisoned a number of times. Mawarire wrote of President Mnangagwa “Mnangagwa says very little of his own volition. He waits for you to speak and only responds when absolutely necessary. . . Mugabe described him as a man who does not forgive or forget very easily. Maybe that’s why for years, Mnangagwa has kept his liberation war nickname, the Crocodile. The undeniable paradox of Zimbabwe’s moment of healing is that the doctor was once the butcher.”
South African comedian Trevor Noah was also on the list. Lupita Nyong’o wrote of him, “When I think of Trevor Noah, the first image I see is from his brilliant memoir, Born a Crime, of Trevor’s mother throwing him out of a moving vehicle while he’s asleep in order to save his life. Through other eyes this could be remembered as traumatic and harrowing. Through Trevor’s it is bonding and hilarious, a testament to the love of someone who truly had to think on their feet.”
Trevor currently hosts The Daily Show, and bagged a Golden Popcorn trophy at last year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards. He won the Best Host award. In 2017 he was named a TIME magazine ‘next generation leader.’ Lupita described Trevor as ‘a fantastic storyteller’ and ‘a defier of rules.’ She said, “He is uncannily skilled at holding up a mirror to whatever room he is in. Trevor is always reaching out: across cultures, continents and boundaries. He makes us laugh with each other and brings us that much closer to understanding one another.”
Other Africans on the list include Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, a Kenyan that ‘escaped the cut, her culture’s ritualized female genital mutilation.’ Nice has ‘gone on to negotiate with village elders’ from her Maasai community and ‘has saved over 15,000 girls around Kenya from the cut, and child marriage.’
Nigerian artist Kehinde Wiley who drew former American President Barrack Obama for the Smithsonian museum was on the list.