After great consideration and deliberation, the team at OkayAfrica released the list of their 100 top women making an impact on the African continent. These women have not only contributed to their field – be it entertainment, media or business – but have also empowered other women in their countries. South Africa has a long legacy of powerful and inspiring women who have helped shape our country. On the 2017 list, we see phenomenal women, the likes of Mauritian president, Ameenah Girib, supermodel Iman and actress Lupita Nyong’o.


Zanele Muholi

Seeing Zanele Muholi on this list comes as no surprise, she’s been a prominent name in the art world for many years now. This photographer and visual activist has explored themes of gender, identity and sexuality with such intimacy, that her art has been exhibited with critical acclaim both locally and internationally.

Self portrait of Zanele Muholi


Tony Gum

The contemporary artist dubbed by Vogue as the ‘coolest girl in Cape Town’, Tony Gum made the list. Gum’s entire image is carefully curated, reflecting references from international and local pop culture; and she sources inspiration from social media, film and fashion. Gum is also co-founder of The Local Collective, where you’ll find videos on everything from travel to fashion.


Gum, photographed by Hayden Phipps


Dr. Tebello Nyokong

A world-renowned, pioneering scientist from humble beginnings, Dr. Tebello Nyokong has been awarded with some of the highest accolades in South Africa and within the African Union. Her research on cancer is leading the way in how we understand and treat the illness.


Dr. Tebello Nyokong


Bonang Matheba

South Africa’s darling, Bonang Matheba made the list. This media personality stole South Africans’ hearts over her many years on television and radio. She is now one of the most recognised faces in the country; and has been described as the queen of South Africa’s social media.


Bonang - Marie Claire

Bonang, photographed by Steve Tanchel


Rapelang Rabana

From a young age Rapelang Rabana knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. She is also a computer scientist, who graduated from the University of Cape Town. After that there was no stopping this remarkable woman, founding the company Yeigo Communications and starting a second, Rekindle Learning. She is now considered to be one of the most important South Africans working in the technology and digital space.


Rapelang Rabana


Caster Semenya

One of the most recognised women in sports, and double Olympic gold medalist, Caster Semenya joins the list as one of the top women on the continent. After a lot of controversy surrounding the athlete in previous years, she has remained resilient, determined, and most importantly true to herself.

Caster Semenya, representing South Africa


Terry Pheto

Terry Pheto rose to international fame when she starred in the Oscar-winning South African film, Tsotsi. After this film, Pheto was seen in beauty campaigns and even cast in the international series, Bold and the Beautiful. More recently, Petho was awarded at the UK National Film Awards for her role in A United Kingdom.


Terry Pheto


Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke

Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke is a powerhouse in the advertising and corporate world, heading up Facebook’s Africa office. She has paved her way to this position with previous work such as serving as the former chairperson of Ogilvy and Mather.

Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke

These formidable women are but a few examples of South Africans leading our country to new heights, inspiring us with their talents, whilst using their resources and influence to empower and uplift women from their own communities and the country in general.