OkayAfrica’s 100 Women

OkayAfrica's 100 Women is our first annual look at the women making an impact on the African continent and in the diaspora. From the biggest names in culture to young up-and-comers, we've got 'em.

In honor of Women's History Month and our March theme, “Black Girls Only" we've put together the first annual "OkayAfrica's 100 Women."


With written and video features, the list pays tribute to 100 African women on the continent and in the diaspora who are leaders in their fields. The feature story highlights the accomplishments and social and cultural impact of renowned figures like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Luvvie Ajayi, Issa Rae, Ruth Negga, Lupita Nyong'o, Iman and Caster Semenya and other major change agents making a difference around the globe.

Included are Phiona Mutesi, chess prodigy from Uganda and subject of the recent Disney Queen of Katwe film; Farida Bedwei, information technology entrepreneur from Ghana, whose cloud software is used by over 100 micro-finance companies in her nation; and Ilwad Elman, human rights and social activist from Somalia, who helps spearhead efforts to assist survivors of domestic violence and street children in Mogadishu, among many others.

“OkayAfrica's 100 Women" was compiled by a group of African women who, after months of research and intense debate, identified an influential group of women who are beacons in their respective industries—each the total personification of #blackgirlmagic. Representation by country and social impact were key factors in decision-making on the #okay100women.

“We proudly present 100 dope women who hail from the continent and the Diaspora—an amazing collective of visionaries, champions, pioneers, and innovators," said Antoinette Isama, OkayAfrica Associate Editor. “These brilliant women, our seestahs, are positively impacting our lives and the lives of others across Africa and around the world."

We're planning a series of events later in the month to honor the women.

With no other platform having yet recognized the accomplishments of such a diverse group of African women globally, OkayAfrica is at the forefront of bringing together a distinct group of women who are marking forward progress in their communities.


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OkayAfrica's 100 Women

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The South African actor, spokesmodel and humanitarian has carved out a unique path for herself in the industry, and she's inspiring other young black women to do the same, unapologetically.

In our latest video, the 100 women honoree tells us how she discovered her passion for the arts at an early age growing up under the care of her grandmother, and she explains why it's vital that black women cease being "polite" for the sake of others—there's no room for timidity.

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Zubz, Thapelo Mashiane, Melly Mel, Lebo Mochudi and Captain. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

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"I don't need to record another song for the rest of my life," says veteran South African rapper Zubz. "So every time I record a song, it's because something has moved me, and made me wanna do it."

So, him working on a 3-track EP with the trio The Assembly—made up of Melly Mel, Captain and Lebo Mochudi—was one of those cases where he was moved. "These dudes, you can tell from their vibe and energy, hip-hop is who they are, not just something they do. It runs in their blood. They make music," he says.

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