By Emmanuel Oluebube, Correspondent UK
New African magazine honours men and women who had a significant impact in their different fields; Physicians, scientists and epidemiologists who wrestled with the Covid-19 monster in do-or-die struggles, feature significantly in this year’s list; They are joined by actors, comedians, writers, producers and musicians who made 2020 more bearable thanks to much-needed entertainment; The list is broken down into Leaders, Pathfinders, Creatives and Icons; Female and non-binary artists and writers dominate the Creatives category; South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana make for nearly half of the laureates with 47 entries but many more countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and Sudan feature on the list.
The much anticipated annual listing of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2020 published by the continent’s premier pan-African publication, London-based New African magazine appears in the December issue, on general sale this week.
The format of the listing this time has been simplified into four categories allowing for a more flexible and more inclusive range of entries: Leaders; Pathfinders; Creatives; and Icons.
In a year dominated by Covid-19 and lockdowns, the spotlight this time turns on the African medical and scientific community which has done sterling and in many cases pioneering work to combat the pandemic.
As Africa remains the least impacted region in the world by the virus, several public health heroes make list, including Nigeria’s‘virus detective’ Chikwe Ihekweazu, and vaccine expert Moroccan Moncef Slaoui who was appointed chief advisor to US Operation Warp Speed to organise vaccine production and distribution.
In tandem, there is a splurge of world-class output from Africa’s writers, actors and actresses, producers, artists, dancers, chefs, fashionistas and presenters with many of them winning prestigious international awards.
For example, making the list is globally-acclaimed Nigerian writer and activist Chimanda Ngozi Adichie whose bestselling novel Half of a Yellow Sun was voted ‘Winner of Winners’ at the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction; as well as Zambian Namwali Serpell whose debut novel has won the Arthur. C Clarke award for science fiction. In music, South Africa’s Master KG song Jerusalema the most Shazamed song of all time, has become a global hit bringing joy to millions around the world.
Although English-speaking countries still dominate the 2020 listing with 76 per cent of all entries, representation of Arabic, French and Portuguese-speaking countries make up a sizeable 24 per cent.
As has been traditional, the Most Influential Africans of 2020 list also features a host of acclaimed leaders in commerce, industry and sport, who have made a mark in their various fields of expertise.
The December issue of New African is available on newsstands in 75 countries and via the app store and the magazine’s digital channels.