15 Celebrities You Didn’t Realize Were From South Africa

By Keren Mikva AFKI Original Published: May 22, 2015, 10:30 am
Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep in "The Mummy" quoteinsta.com/everythingaction.com

Contrary to what we learned at the 2010 World Cup, Shakira is not actually South African. But there are famous people who are. Whether they claim their South African heritage or it was just a place where they were born, South Africa can still call them its own. And as you’ll see, the Rainbow Nation has produced some pretty impressive people. Here are 15 celebrities you didn’t realize were from South Africa.

This is an updated version of an article that was published Oct. 6, 2014.

Steve Nash Apega/WENN.com
Steve Nash

Steve Nash

Although Steve Nash moved to Canada when he was 18 months old, he was born in Johannesburg to a Welsh mother and an English father. He didn’t start playing basketball until he was 12 or 13 (like all good Canadians, he focused more on hockey) but told his mother that one day he would play in the NBA and would be a star. Pretty good prediction, given that played for the Lakers until this year — he has since retired — and is a two-time NBA MVP and an eight-time NBA All-Star.

J.R.R. Tolkein BiographyOnline.net

J.R.R. Tolkein

J.R.R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State (now Free State Province) and lived there until age 3 when he moved to England after his father’s death. He’s best known for authoring the epic “Lord of the Rings” series written between 1937 and 1949. Tolkien addressed societal issues in other works, expressing opposition to Stalinism, socialism, and his disgust of racism. He even wrote a fairly well-read piece about racism in South Africa.

Charlize Theron at the 85th Annual Oscars WENN.com

Charlize Theron at the 85th Annual Oscars

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is one of the few people on this list who actually grew up in South Africa (her first language is Afrikaans). Born in Benoni in then-Transvaal Province, she grew up on her parents’ farm outside Johannesburg. At 13, she was sent to boarding school and began studying at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg until she moved to Los Angeles at 19 to join the movie business.

Dave Matthews performing in Milan, Italy Brengola-Diena / WENN.com

Dave Matthews performing in Milan, Italy
Brengola-Diena / WENN.com

Dave Matthews

Born in Johannesburg, Dave Matthews moved back and forth between New York and England from age 2 to 10, but returned to Johannesburg with his family. After graduating from high school in 1985, he was conscripted into the South African military but left the country to avoid service. A Quaker, he considered himself a pacifist and unable to fight. Fun fact: Matthews worked for IBM for a short time before he joined the music world and became the rocker we all know and love today.


Glynis Johns

We’ll go back a little to a time when the measure of celebrity wasn’t based upon US Weekly magazine covers. Glynis Johns won a Tony award for creating the character of Desiree Armfeldt in “A Little Night Music” on Broadway. She is especially remembered for playing Winifred Banks, the suffragette mother in “Mary Poppins.” She received an Oscar nomination for her role in the 1960 film “The Sundowners.” Born and raised in Pretoria to British parents, Johns became the first person ever to croon the lyrics to the famous song “Send in the Clowns.”



Trevor Rabin

The famous 1980s rock band “Yes” had Trevor Rabin in the front as guitarist, songwriter, bass guitarist, and keyboardist. Rabin was born in Johannesburg to British parents. His father was the lead violinist for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Yes did not achieve huge success until Rabin joined. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was written by Rabin and became a smash hit and a timeless classic rock sensation.



Bijou Phillips

A “wild child” of Hollywood, Phillips had an on-again-off-again film career. She seemed as American as cheeseburgers, but Phillips split most of her childhood between New York, California and South Africa, on account of her South African model mother Genevieve Waite. Her dad was John Phillips, singer with the Mamas and the Papas band. From 2010 to 2014 she played the Lucy Carlyle on the TV series, “Raising Hope.”



Richard E. Grant

Recognize this guy? He’s been spotted in films including “Gosford Park,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” and TV shows such as “Downton Abbey” and “Girls.” He was born in Swaziland, and his father was minister of education before the former British colony was emancipated in 1968. His mother was of German-South African origin. Grant studied drama at the University of Cape Town, and became successful in film and theater in London, especially after his breakthrough role in the bizarre British comedy, “Withnail and I.” Otherwise,


Embeth Davidtz

In the movie “Schindler’s List,” there is the subplot where the evil Nazi general played by Ralph Fiennes obsesses over his Jewish maid. The maid was Embeth Davidtz’s breakout role into serious cinema. She is wildly talented and has played prominent roles in more than 40 films including “Matilda,” “Junebug,” The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and TV shows “Californication,” and “Mad Men.” She was born in Indiana to South African parents who moved back to the country so her father could teach at Potchefstroom University. She earned an English degree at Rhodes University.

Sienna Miller Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com

Sienna Miller
Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com

Sienna Miller

Although she was born in New York City, Miller had a South African-born model mother, so she gets South African status even though she is widely considered British American. An actress, model and fashion designer, she spent a considerable amount of time in South while filming “The Girl” in Cape Town.

Ernie Els Carrie Devorah / WENN

Ernie Els
Carrie Devorah / WENN

Ernie Els

“The Big Easy,” or Ernest “Ernie” Els grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was one of the top golfers in the world. He had 65 career victories including two U.S. Open victories in 1994 and 1997. Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, he is one of only six golfers to win both the U.S. Open and the Open Championship twice. Els has a charitable foundation that helps low-income kids in South Africa learn to play golf.

Sasha Pieterse Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com

Sasha Pieterse
Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com

Sasha Pieterse

Known for her role as Alison DiLaurentis on “Pretty Little Liars,” Sasha Pieterse, 19, was born in Johannesburg before moving to the U.S. She became the came the youngest actress on the CW Network show. She began acting at age 6. Pieterse worked on a country music album and has released several singles. Apparently they start ’em young over in Joburg.

Orlando Bloom WENN.com

Orlando Bloom…sort of

OK, so this one gets a bit tricky. During Orlando Bloom’s childhood, he was told that his father was Harry Saul Bloom — a Jewish South African-born anti-apartheid novelist. Nine years after Harry’s death, Orlando learned at age 13 that his biological father was actually Colin Stone, a family friend, who became Orlando’s legal guardian. So he can be considered South African for 13 years at least.

Dean Geyer FayesVision/WENN.com

Dean Geyer

Dean Geyer

Dean Geyer was relatively unknown to American audiences until he landed the role as Brody Weston on the fourth season of “Glee,” an American musical comedy-drama TV series that aired from 2009, to 2015. Before that, he finished third place on “Australian Idol” and briefly had a band named Third Edge. Geyer calls Johannesburg home, although he moved to Australia when he was young. He wrote a song entitled “Change” about that move.



Arnold Vosloo

Remember the movie “The Mummy” when the spirit of that really buff guy turned into a mummy and gross little scarabs ran in and out of his mouth? That South African actor Arnold Vosloo. He took his place in action-film history with that role, and its sequel,”The Mummy Returns.” Vosloo first made a name for himself in the Pretoria theater scene, winning awards for playing Hamlet and Don Juan. He has also been featured in South African cinema including the hit film “Forgiveness.” Other roles include “Blood Diamond” and “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.”



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  • Katlego Matseke

    You forgetting Elon Musk. The founder of Tesla Motors and PayPal

    • Jwk

      Exactly! In the years to come, Elon will grow to be one of the most prolific people of modern times.
      I wonder why there are no black South Africans? Imagine if we had good leadership in this country, and everyone could flourish. There would be a lot more than the people on this list….

      • ZuluGirl

        Black South Africans include: Nondumiso Tembein in the USA who was on True Blood, Sal Masekela son of Hugh is the E! Entertainment Host in the USA, there’s London based musician Mpho Skeef who is Sipho Hotstix’s daughter and lastly Mpho Koaho born in Canada to South African parents and he’s on the current series of Falling Skies.

        • LindiweK

          A few more black people on US/Brit TV/ Movies/ Music:

          Terry Phetho (The Bold & The Beautiful, Tsotsi..)
          Ramphai Mohadi (The Curious Case of Ben…)
          Zakes Mokae (A Dry White Season, Waterworld..)
          Tony Kgoroge (Lord of War, Invictus, Hotel Rwanda..)
          Jay Manuel (E!, America’s Next Top Model..)
          PJ Prinsloo (Disturbing Behaviour, Stargate:Continuum)
          Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Larry Crowne, Touch, ..)
          Noma Dumezweni (Planet of the Dead)
          Barbara Mamabolo (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen)
          Goapele (R&B/ Neo-Soul Singer..)

        • The Spark

          Any black South Africans not in arts and entertainment?
          Say, something like medicine, technology, science, economics? The stuff that grows economies and changes the world?

        • LindiweK

          @The Spark, hopefully when we get our education right (esp Maths & Science), plus a number of black role models in these areas and visionary leadership in the country *sigh*, we’ll start to see these in substantial numbers. Obviously, blacks don’t have a Newton, Einstein, Galilei, Darwin etc from centuries ago. The culture and that type of science was only introduced late in the last century to black SAns. There were little or no entrepreneurs either as our grandparents had to work for the white man and had no land or capital. So we’ll always be on the back foot there, more so if we don’t have excellent Maths & Science teachers, even in 2013, sad situation. (Don’t know why I have to explain the obvious here)
          There are a few Africans abroad though, including professors and business leaders. They are not on our TV/movie screens nor are they Nobel prize winners, so they’re mostly known in their own circles.

          BUT… let’s not imply that arts and sport don’t change the world and grow economies in their own way 🙂 …

        • banzi

          if you’re looking for black MAVERICK you’d have to go back in the beginning of time where everything started, people that inspired all the things that exist today. The revolution will not be televised

        • lol

          agreed: check what Egyptians did waaaay before the sirs and so called kings and dukes did before so called civilisation was brought to Africa by a white man (there I said it I stooped that low) nxx

        • Lomney

          that is so oddly disturbing what are the arts and entertainment not as important as medicine? I hate racial slurs

        • Thabang Bonang

          The late Ken Gambu – American Ninja.
          Steve Kalamazoo Mokone – First black African to play in the European professional football league.

        • Jacqui

          Jay Manuel is NOT South African, sorry. He is however the son of a decent of Cape Town (Cape Malay). Jay Manuel was born in Illinois. Not South Africa which makes him very much American. and also he is NOT black.

        • LindiweK

          Nana Meriwether – Miss USA 2012 (was 1st princess, assumed the title when Miss USA ascended to Miss Universe 2012)

      • bonile ngqiyaza

        We will have those in the fullness of time… we will. Soon. It’s all due to apartheid.

        • DustyRose

          Bonile, Apartheid is over. Fana Mokoena who starred in the recent Movie “World War Z”, as the UN General Secretary is a black man born in SA as well as , Hotel Rwanda, Safe House and Machine Gun Preacher. He was born in SA 1971 during the peak of Apartheid. He also happens to be black. He is very involved in local TV and cinema. He’s also not going on about apartheid.

        • pianoman

          Thank you dusty…it gets soooooo old always hearing about apatheid being the reason why certain communities/races/cultures didn’t “make it”…ai tog. Then you find the REAL heroes, like Fana, and many, many others, who “made it”…apartheid or not…lol 😉 It is simply “entitlement mentality” when people blame apartheid for their inability to achieve…seriously…look at the jewish community, who was literally slaughtered during the nazi era – and they don’t blame hitler, nope…in fact, they took their country back three years after being almost destroyed! Look at the afrikaners during the concentration camps in south africa. the still “made it”. ja…for sure…so many of the heroes who from the communites that were brutalized by apartheid (let’s not defend apartheid…anyone with more than two brain cells realizes that it was a mistake of beyond epic proportions) normally laugh at the idiots who blame it…I know…lol…I’ve met many of these heroes.

        • Nchenge Eyong

          So are you saying apartheid had no socio-economic and cultural effects on black people? You actually harbour some guilt no?That’s very myopic of you sir.

        • banzi

          only white people will make statements like that because they do not know how far reaching the damage was to black people, apartheid crippled the black nation, it took you over 400 years to get to where you are as a white nation, its only 20 years into democracy and you expecting black people to perform miracles. We as a black nation have come very far considering the oppression our fathers and mothers had to endure at the hands of white oppressor, i’m really proud of my people and how they’ve kept their head up high, even when things looked bleek. Nothing that a white man can relate to, you know nothing about struggle, so you wont relate to the pain black people endure, and I understand, i cant blame you, you dont know nothing about pain, struggle, oppression, hunger, hate from other races.

        • Leon Christopher Coetzer

          why were you sleeping for 400 years?

        • ABO

          @ Leon Christopher Coetzer.
          Are you serious? If you are, you won’t complain when a rich white farmer is killed by a poor young back man. you should blame the former for not protecting himself. Let’s take responsibility on both our common history and present to build a better future for all of us.

        • banzi

          those are the exceptions…not everyone will have the same opportunities. white people just had way more opportunities, hence, the imbalances.

        • Leon Christopher Coetzer

          I had my 1st job when i was 16, went into exile when I was 21 and did it all on my own. Stop crying and look at where the fault has really manifested itself.

        • Brownie!

          Leon,Leon Leon ,prejudice never shows much reason,bottom line is Africans ,the real Africans(Brown and chocolate skinned ppl were oppressed by pale pinkish skinned people during the hayday,which was a long long long time ago(TG!)and all that resulted in may of the brown people being disadvantaged.so please stop acting ignorant.u jus being silly wif ur comments.Change is all that is required not insults and pigmentation clashes,totally unnecessary kak.show the wisdom that uv gained through Your blessed life.toe!

        • PaleWhiteMaleButColourBlind

          And, my dear Bonile, whatever you dont achieve in your life you will also blame on Apartheid, ne? Get over yourself…
          I resent your attitude!

        • Brett13

          Sure, you keep blaming the past, that way you don’t need to face up to the reality of your present (and consequently the lack of your future)…the rest of us are working extremely hard and focused on the future…let me guess, your children will still be saying the same thing as you, wondering what happened?

        • Brownie!

          it must be nice to hurl insults when at the finish line,coz uv reached ur epitome?dats fyn white ,pink or pale ppl.its always easier said than doen to get over things.the sad reality is Brown ,chocolate or darkies as u wud say,we have moved past the apartheid thing,its upto the former oppressor to acknowledge that peace has been made and ther reali is no mor need to act like a God wen in the presence of natives.that simple ,we all 1,judge the character not the pigment.

        • Yvonne Horak

          You are an Idiot !! Many did achive that during Apartheid, including Nelson Mandela becoming a Lawyer even old Bob Mugabe old ZimBob was educated here. YOU are the loser not achieving anything- do not blame apartheid for your lack of guts to stand on your own two feet ! You have an ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY! tO BECOME AN ACHIEVER you MUST BE ABLE TO ACHIEVE on your OWN. ACHIEVERS CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.! You have an ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY! Apartheid did not stop YOU becoming an Achiever.! Why do you NOW not go to London New York Paris FranKfurt Hong Kong China and go and achieve there?Too scared you will not even get money for food there? Why are YOU now NOT ACHIEVING HERE?
          you stop thinking the World OWES you!

        • Bob

          Many poor blacks became millionaires without fraud and tenders, and many whites became millionaires through fraud and even through tenders. Don’t generalise.


        • Yvonne Horak

          Please name the Millionaires without tenders and cronies and family connections in high places that WORKED themselves( all by themselves) ,standing alone on their own two feet becoming Millionaires ( perhaps starting off like Anton Rupert in a garage making cigarettes?) and please the name the millionaires with fraud!!

        • Bob

          I could give you a really long list honestly, going with people you may know such as Maponya, to other lesser known millionaires. I am just saying it is not just white people who are capable of honestly making a name for themselves.

          For white people, equally, I could give you a long list of white fraudsters, such as Kebble perhaps and even some reports of public spending abuse during Apartheid. My whole point is that you can’t generalise an entire race’s behaviour based on the actions of some.

          It solves nothing. My biggest problem with racist posts on the internet is that I imagine tons of black people, people who are not happy with the current situation either and who would be willing to vote for the opposition, think twice when they come across selfishly racist posts like the one you placed above. Instead of slinging mud at the other side, because each side has its faults, it may be more poignant to work together with likeminded people, regardless of race, to solve the situation.


        • Oren

          Bob,you a very intelligent person. Thank you for you response.

        • Thabo Z

          To Bob! You are a man amongst men! A wonderfully measured, factual argument. Thank you.

        • Brownie!

          yes Bob!dats it ryt here …#thumbs up-ur a tru example of the Phrase-from the error of other(not race)bt others,a wise man(not brown black,wyt,or blue,jus a man!) corrects his own.Dankie man!
          Yvonne hope u read and understood,ur point was very valid till u had to pull that race shyyyyyyyt!!sis!

        • kefentse sathekge

          they secretly sacked the country’s coffers and transferred the loot to swiss accounts and cayman islands

        • swandame

          every politician idiot in every country sacks the coffers and transfers the loot to swiss accounts – politicians are just idiots idiots idiots – I must say in comment to everything above – I love that there are SO MANY (check the caps dudes!) successful bleck folks and that LindiweK and ZuluGirl put those names up there – so bored with these lists where only the whyte successes are told. Thank you to every bleck person who makes a name for themselves – you make me proud – and the whytes make me proud tooooo – jes loving it homies

        • kefentse sathekge

          whats with the caps lock? calm down woman.

        • Ilona

          Oh I do so agree, Yvonne! If all our South African youth of whatever colour, would just realise that they CAN build a future for themselves if they concentrate on doing just that, keeping their eyes on the Lord, and stop blaming their parents, apartheid, the government and whatever else they can think of!

        • Mo

          “without tenders like your RACE” Really?Wow!!

        • Brownie!

          eix! Yvonne jys was Heeltemal reg toe se jy (your race?)wtf?naw lady,thats jus sad for further words.u lost the plot right ther!E-For effort thou!

        • Bradley Phillips

          yes Bonile. it is all apartheids fault. but you forgot to mention, AIDS, cancer, athletes foot, diabites, dandruf, global warming and the lochness monster. all results of the racist white regime 🙂

          Bradley Phillips

        • Bob

          Bradley sir. As you may have guessed by now, I am black. My businesses are not BEE-certified because I decided a long time ago that I want to earn my money just like white people do so that nobody can ever say that I owe my own success to my race. My businesses even have eurocentric names just so that I don’t benefit unfairly from that either. To this day I have never applied for a tender nor tried to use my race to get ahead of the competition.

          The killing of farmers in the country is not something I could ever justify, nowhere in my statement above do I say that it is okay because the killing of PEOPLE, regardless of race, is and can never be a good thing. To that I could tell you that, statistically, black people are bigger victims of murder and violence in South Africa but that would solve nothing because violence is not made better when a different colour is applied to it.

          We are in agreement, you and I, I want to help all South Africans black and white as well. Corruption is inexcusable and I am actually probably more ashamed and disgusted that corruption is what it is today than you are. If my death guaranteed an end to all this, and ensured prosperity for my country, for all my people, then I would die without a second thought.


        • Jahn Khati

          Maybe, Bob, you are young like me, maybe you aren’t, but what struck me as rather amazing about your words above, is the calm with which you go about your business. Maybe you are gifted with words, maybe you are well trained at keeping your emotions in tact. I search for that businesslike calm in our leaders, our people and our youth, but alas it is nowhere. Well, that is harsh, but you have to look far and deep to find such individuals. We are such a scared, nervous nation. You seem to have let the emotions drift down the river. Well done, and you have given me a piece of wisdom to chew on. Thanks. Good luck. If i may, i am proud to call myself a South African if you are one!

        • Viditrainer

          Bob, I happen to be white and I agree with you. I choose to believe that there are many more who share our views. We are the silent majority.

        • Naarch

          Bob can I send you my CV?

        • banzi

          many white people ow their success to their white counterpart, there’s no shame in that. Its when people are involved in corruption, and by the way corruption doesn’t have a race, its corruption across all borders, white, black, indian, chinesse etc…we should not even be labeling corruption according to rase

        • Oren

          Really? I am not Black but even I know for a fact that most companies have all WHITE lead teams, even white ppl are paid more for skills than black ppl with the same skills, its the truth. Its ridiculous, they way some ppl treat black colleagues beneath them on the corporate ladder, it makes me sick and disgusted to be a Human . . .

        • HR Manager

          What I find incredibly funny with your comment is how you view the world and scheme of things. Next thing you will go to China and call the Chinese racist because their corporate higher-ups are of Asian descent? Do you use the pay to dictate a person’s worth? It will do you more good if you actually paid attention to maybe why they are getting better pay, not due to the colour of their skin. Unless you yourself recruited them how will you know that the two people have EXACTLY the same skills? because as far as im concerned everyone has unique assets and skills. Think this before judging any work place as racist.

        • gimmebucks

          So apartheid gives you the right to steal ????

        • Kosenator

          Tell that to Patrice Motsepe. Stop blaming the past.

        • Someone

          Apartheid is over! Get over it! Stop being stuck in the past and move on.

        • banzi

          how can apartheid be over when racism is alive and kicking, explain that?…

      • kefentse sathekge

        why does this have to be a race issue? aren’t you happy he’s a south african?

      • Fritz Breitenbach

        maybe in a 100 years the blacks in sa will start to peform

        • banzi

          black people built this world, white people stole from it…introducing systems to oppress people.

      • ernst de waal

        do you guys always HAVE to make it a racial thing? ffs i’m so sick and tired of this.get with the times, apartheid is over.

        • banzi

          as long as racism is alive, things will never change…and if black people didnt stand up and fight white people would still be oppressing us, so dont tell me apartheid is over…

      • Garth

        Rather wonder why this site only chose to list white South Africans.

        • banzi

          thank you

      • iMcJaz

        There is Hugh Masekela’s son Sal Masekela. Famous US television host. He was born in LA, but should still retain South African citizenship. 🙂

    • Don Darkes

      Well done! ( I wish I had notices- and said that!)

      • Junkle1

        and they same answers would have been given to you too.

    • kefentse sathekge

      and he’s a rocket scientist, works for NASA.

    • Kosenator

      Also Johnny Clegg (Savuka/ Juluka) and his son Jessi Clegg.

    • Akhona Jako

      Holla Punch

    • LindiweK

      They forgot:
      Arnold Vosloo ( The Mummy, GI: Joe..)!
      Embeth Davidtz (Matilda, Schindler’s List, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, ..)
      Sharlto Copley (The A-Team (movie), District 9,…)

    • gramler
  • afkza

    Roger Federer’s mother is South African. He holds Swiss and South African citizenship.

    • Rhodie Rhodester

      Dita Hitler was SasAfrikan. She was THAT guy’s mom!

      • gsmiles

        LOL “THAT guy”… hahaha

  • MBC

    And Christian Bale’s father was SA-born, and his first marriage was to a South African. Bale’s eldest sister (half) is a South African: Erin.

  • Maz


  • Fred

    Producer Phil Ramone (who had nothing to do with The Ramones) was SA, and so is Manfred Mann.

  • choukeru

    Really? If you didn’t know Tolkein, Charlize Theron, Dave Matthews and Ernie Els were South African you’ve been living with your head in the sand for the last 20 years. Who didn’t know this?

    • DustyRose

      Tolkein is not really South African. He lived here for a few years as a child. He was not born here. Eddie Kramer the man who produced the majority of Jimi Hendrix’s records is from Johannesburg. Mutt Langer although born in Zambia, grew up in South Africa with his SA dad and mom. He was married to Shania Twain who’s 1997 Album “Come On Over” he helped write and produce. It is also the number one album by a female artist, and was the producer of the 2nd best selling Album of all time, “Back In Black” by AC/DC 1980. Read up on him in Wikipedia. He music credentials go on and on.

      • DustyRose

        Sorry. I lie. Tolkien was born in SA.

        • James

          He was born in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State in RSA

    • Jordan du Toit

      me :p

      • Jordan du Toit

        well the jr tolkien part

    • Georgesss

      DSK (Dominiques Strauss Khan) is also South African.

      • gcu

        Phyllis Spira our greatest ballerina

      • Robert Carter

        Not according to Wikipedia.

      • RobertBellermine

        RSA could be one of the best countries on the planet if people worked together. Would not undermine the impact of apartheid but if we want to succeed like the Jews have , having been faced with near extinction. It is time to wake up and start working and competing on the global platform. Have lived in many countries and realise that people do not appreciate what they have if they haven’t ventured out of the box. Colour is a thing of the past. Am black, but some call me coloured but I feel human!

        • banzi

          Israel oppressing Palestine, that is not success

    • Rhodie Rhodester


    • JediChick

      Why did they forget Arnold Vosloo? He was the epic villain from The Mummy! You know him, he was awesome!

      • Bradley Phillips

        Shame on you all for forgetting ‘Boetie’. He is really an awesome villian. His part in GI Joes was really good to 🙂

        Thanx Jedi 🙂

        Bradley Phillips

      • pianoman

        Ja, I was quite shocked that old Botie gaan border toe was not on the list 🙁

  • Partyforever

    Johan Kriek, Nana Meriwether.

    • KathyC

      Richard E. Grant isn’t South African.

    • Vicky Holmes

      Andrew Lincoln’s mother may be South African but he was born and bred in England.

  • jerry

    if sienna was born in new york how can she be from south africa ?

    • Rhodie Rhodester

      She is ashamed of being SasAfrikan. Booooo

  • Yvonne Horak

    There are many many more- Princess Charlene of Monaco comes to mind and lots of others even more known that these shown here.

    • amid

      Phyllis Spira

  • Franca

    How about Kevin Petersen and Andrew Strauss(even though we might not like to admit it about the former)

  • Sudika Harkhu

    You guys are forgetting Adhir Kalyan (Timmy from Rulesof Engagement), or is this only a list about whites?

    • Bokfan Saffer

      Its a pathetic list so no surprises it offended a lot of folks. Were they all white? After I saw how boring it was I stopped looking.

  • liberty

    This is so disappointing, to see fellow South Africans still differentiating between races.
    When will we start taking responsibility for our own shortcomings instead of blaming it on others and stop complaining about how were not given opportunities etc. Arnold Vosloo of The Mummy isnt he also from South Africa?

    • Derek

      Arnold Vosloo is as South African as you can get – he’s from a small town in the Eastern Cape called Uitenhage. I worked with him on movies in Johannesburg before he moved to LA as a complete unknown.

      • Bradley Phillips

        Uitenhage? Im from Queenstown. Cool. 🙂

      • Ghost

        Arnold Vosloo went to school in Alberton and that is also where he matriculated!

        • gsmiles

          wooo! East Rand! My kassie.

  • Lutho Mabandla

    This is pathetic. It makes it sound as though South Africans are desperate to have celebrities born here. We were born and bred here, we don’t need your bread crumbs celebrity geneaology list. This is somewhat offensive. Celebrities are supposed to be people who are celebrated, people who make a difference for the better of the world; not these glorified court jesters you’re listing(except Tolkien). We have Mandela; your argument-whatever it may be-is invalid. We have Tutu, we have Mlambo Ngcuka, we have Dlamini-Zuma. We have many others. Those are the people who matter. Keep your South African wannabies to yourself. Worst part is, their only creating this list because of Mandela’s illness. Opportunistic vultures.

    • PaleWhiteMaleButColourBlind

      I was totally with you, till you lost credibility with “…we have Dlamini-Zuma”… Seriously!

      • sthe

        What is wrong with Dlamini-Zuma?

      • Rhodie Rhodester

        I’m lost too! Why her of all people?

      • banzi

        she is responsible for the Home Affairs better service delivery, so she deserves to be there, and is’nt she the president of AU or SADC or something,

    • Bawb

      What you’re forgetting is the list is one of Celebrities we probably didn’t know were South African, the ones you named everyone know are South African….but it’s a dumb list for having the likes of Charlize Theron, Dave Matthews and Ernie Els ’cause everyone knows they’re South African…like, they have made a point to tell the world where they came from, which is cool, but means they don’t belong on this list, just like Mandela, Tutu etc…don’t belong on this list

    • banzi

      amazing list
      no other list can top that

  • Stephen Hinneh

    What about the blacks?

    • Rhodie Rhodester

      Shastri was a permanent resident in Durban for some time, so Norah Jones is South Afrikan. Sort off!

      • Sudika Harkhu

        how doff you are! Norah Jones father is Pundit Ravi Shankar! Ravi Shastri is a cricketer. Cannot believe how stupid you are.

  • simon

    Carry on sid james

    • Steve Currie

      He was a hairdresser before he started shagging babs windsor

  • Swansea Till I Die!

    Theron and Els? Bloody hell you might as well include Mandela in there if you genuinely believe people don’t know those two are Saffers.

    • Zama Zama

      bonile ngqiyaza bonile ngqiyaza

      Jeez girl. Get over apartheid. Its time we have to stop making excuses for not getting where we want to be. Its way too easy to blame everything on apartheid… but blaming, unfortunately, doesn’t solve problems. I think we will have more blacks on that list if we stop saying everything was apartheid’s fault, and start living.

  • Steve Currie

    Alice Krige, she the Queen of the Borg

    • gcu

      and many more great films

  • Melanie

    Lesley Ann Brandt who played Naevia on Spartacus, Kandyse Mcclure from Battle star Galactica, Shannon Cook Chun, Richard E Grant

  • KC
  • Iffy Emmanuel

    you gotta include Elon Musk. He sure blows the rest out of the water.

  • Redhot

    What about the literary greats: Nobel literature prize winners Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee? Yea and Adhir Kalyan who’s done well since moving to the US. My daughter once shared a stage with him in Durban.

    • Partyforever

      One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, And in the darkness bind them…

  • Sidi

    where the black south africans at?

  • Georgess

    By association DSK (Dominiques Strauss Khan) is also South African.

    • Rhodie Rhodester

      He kept it on the continent by abusing a Malian woman. No big ups on that one!

  • Daleen

    Shame, you forgot about Sharlto Copley from the A-team.

    • Rhodie Rhodester


  • Popiro

    I’m South African and a future celeb.

  • Dewald

    xander van heerden….. remember that name. Only 2 years old but he has a very bright future

  • Obeli

    Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken was South African.

  • PaleWhiteMaleButColourBlind

    Can we rather have the list with hyperlinks instead of having to scroll through a monotonous list???????? bleh! Lost me at 3 already

  • sthe

    Ingabe nixakwe yini nize nibhale lamalist ngathi, baningi abantu baseNingizimu Africa abaphumelele empilweni, not just in show biz but kuyo yonke imikhakha, so get over yourself!

  • sundog

    Arnold Vosloo, Embeth Davidtz, Trevor Rabin…
    There are already a LOT more than those on this list

  • mep

    Also the lead character in The Walking Dead, his mother is South African I think.

  • Jack

    This list is a joke

  • Jack

    I realised this list was a joke when they said Orlando Bloom is South African. Ernie Els, Charlize Theoron and JRR Tolkein most South Africans know are from SA. Adding people who weren’t even born in SA or grew up in SA.

  • RhodeZimboan Ridgeback

    Mmmm, no Black SasAfrikans on the list. It’s all Charlize like anyone did’nt know she is SasAfrikan. ( B.T.W, Sweatpants Earl from O.W.G.K.T.A is SasAfrikan )

    • Nyasha

      It so sad that the corrupt and brainwashed Africans blame past atrocities or injustice systems for their lack of success. I like some body above who has clearly articulated about the Jewish community and the problems they faced. They are literally running the world, look at Bill Gates and his Microsoft, Pupkewitz in Namibia for instance…in fact the list is endless. They have made it irrespective of the untold and despicable atrocities they faced. Africans cannot work for a good cause and for the enhancement of the black race. Jealousy, greedy, corruption and laziness continues to haunt some of the tribes that are found on the African continent.

  • Ogo Uwajeh

    Gary Player anyone? If you put the “Big Easy”, Ernie Els on this list then Gary Player who’s one of the most successful Golfers of all time definitely belongs there too.

  • idontekno

    I do’nt think it was necessary to put Charlize on the list….WE ALL KNOW she was born in SA 🙂

    • ConfusedVictim

      Like Ernie Els?

  • idontekno

    Sienna Miller is not from South Africa…

  • ElegantPotato

    Mark Shuttleworth?

  • Leanne

    Isn’t Arnold Vosloo South african, from The Mummy, he played Imhotep

  • sthe

    buhle mkhize is from RSA. shes a fashin designer! ow and theres a guy that works with tyler perry that is Zulu

  • jessica styles

    i really wish people from around the globe start appreciating South Africa

  • Gary

    Alice Krige was born in Upington so she qualifies too

  • Tersh

    Arnold Vosloo famous for his role in “The Mummy also grew up in South Africa

  • GeeDrifter

    Ha? What about Kandyse McClure from KZN. She played Anastasia Dualla in Battlestar Galactica.

  • Mtho Nkosi

    The beautiful Gugu Mbatha-Raw of Larry Crowne, Touch, undercover and closure fame his dad Patrick Mbatha is a South African Dr who moved to oxford where he met her white mom Anne Raw,Thabo Sefolosha NBA player for Oklahoma City Thunder has a South African dad too, Kelvin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott English cricketers were born and raised in South Africa, other famous cricketers born here include Andrew Strauss another probably the biggest SA connection is Roger Federer his mom is South African

  • uhoro

    Hello You forgot Norway’s celebrity “Anders Behring Breivik ” and Ariel Castro in states .. ahahaha

  • Odidi

    The lead singer of the Basement Jaxx is from eUmlazi, eThekwini, KZN, her name is Nomvula.

  • Mo Jones

    Sol Kerzner & Mark Shuttleworth.

  • mpho

    Should have known that ignoramuses would turn this into a race issue. who the heck cares? Some of us tire of this bullbutter. grow up.

  • Akhona Jako

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw

  • mozzi

    Alicia Mkize

  • YourFriend

    South Africans looking for celebrities, No black ones though, typical of south africa..

  • tony

    where is Jonathan Butler he is one too

  • gsmiles

    did you know Nelson Mandela is from South Africa. So am I.

  • Boeta

    Zakes Makgona Mokae is also South African

  • Sirhc

    Where is Jean Grae? Styles P?.. no blacks on your list.. this are South Africans

  • Nchenge Eyong

    apartheid,white racism or whatever you call it certainly retarded the socio economic development of blacks in this country.whether you accept it or not.I agree that its over in paper and we should move on.however i don’t understand why someone gets mugged here each time apartheid is rightly blamed

  • jimmysawfinger

    Earl Sweatshirts from “Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All” might also be up for consideration, his father is a South African, can’t remember his name though : /

  • ocayaro

    Everyone forgets Zakes Mokae – late renowned Hollywood star. One of my personal favorites. Starred in two of Wes Craven’s movies, and many others. His biggest undoing was his modesty. Typical of many black (real) top achievers.

  • Davy

    There are many many more successful South Africans out their dominating international platforms, be it business, entertainment, sport, philanthropy, academic or whatever else. This list hardly justifies the extent of success of our a relatively small nation.

    We are great and our generally hard work ethic and passionate attitude is what makes us shine.

    A few more important omissions: Shaun Morgan (lead singer of Seether), Kevin Pieterson (cricketer), Mark Shuttleworth (Linux/thawte developer and first SA to space), Roelof Botha (has been on the board for companies like instagram, evernote, tumblr, weebly,meebo and youtube), Patrice Motsepe (dollar billionaire mining tycoon), Donald Gordon (dollar billionaire founder of liberty insurance), Oppenheimer Family (DeBeers), Rupert Family (Richemont which controls many famous brands such as Cartier and Montblanc), Tina Green (wealthiest woman in the UK) and of course Nelson Mandela (the title said people you didnt realize were from SA and I am quite sure everyone around the world knows that he is so that’s probably why).

    Here is a complete list of all our super achievers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_South_Africans

  • Greg Corder

    I’m sorry this list is pathetic

  • Sel

    you forgot about Candice Swanepoel, Georgina Greenville, Behati Prinsloo, Candice Boucher, Genevieve Morton, Landi Swanepoel, Natasha Bardnard (all international well-known models), oh and Gwen Stefani

  • Who???

  • what an absolutely pointless inaccurate stupid list

  • Lauren

    What about Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)?

  • Griddy

    Mark Shutteworth – founded of Canonical Ltd. and as of 2013, provides leadership for the Ubuntu operating system

  • rori

    These people are descendants of invaders and will never be part of this country that’s why they aren’t even here. Take them back to Europe, why force them down the throats of South Africans.
    Whites aren’t South Africans, they are Europeans that’s why they had EUROPEANS ONLY benches and public toilets.

    Indians too aren’t South Africans, they are Indians and need to go back where they came from as slaves just over 150 years ago. Indians and Coloureds benefitted from apartheid.

    There is no reconciliation without RETRIBUTION.

    • Raerae

      Rori… go… study… a… damn… history… book. white people in SA(esp afrikaners) are descended from the khoisan… it’s even becoming fashionable to say so. *sighs*

  • Mr. Hmm…

    Race shouldn’t be the basis of how you treat a person. It is the skill that matters. I truly respect Mandela for the incredible work he had done, but Zuma? Err….Maybe if the people can wake up and elect base on the skill of a person, South Africa would become a better place. It seems that the black people just vote for Zuma because he’s black, even though they know he’s useless. Well anyways, South Africa is rotting unless someone can save this place.

  • Cassie

    Ernie still has a few houses here in SA. He is normally at home over Christmas, at his house at Heroldsbaai

  • Suzanne Saunders

    Sharlto Copley and Neill Blomkamp and Arnold Vosloo

  • ocayaro

    I have noticed something about discussions in SA. There is almost no voting on comments. That is, neither up-voting nor down-voting. Tells me that people are so FULL of their own opinions and have no time to LISTEN to others. That is the path to societal strife.

  • Gork

    Arnold Vosloo – The Mummy in The Mummy movie series and epic voice actor for a lot of super hero cartoons

  • Michelle Tinx Opperman

    yoh… this isnt about race guys.. its about people we never knew were south african.. duh. why on Gingers Planets must race always be brought up? If we all dont start to be positive and less judgmental, South Africa will never be a better place… just a fact!

  • Jax

    Shalto Copley – Elysium
    Mutt Lange – Record producer and was married to Shania Twain
    Arnold Vosloo – Actor

  • John

    There are some very confused white folk here it seems . This country has produced one of the most highly respected and highly thought after leaders the world has seen in the past 100 years , namely Nelson Mandela . He towers above all the minor business people mentioned here and has come from more humble backgrounds than most of the white folk mentioned here and it would be quite good for this country if some of these bitter people who keep sowing the seeds of their racial intollerance learnt from Nelson Mandela . It would be great if we could celebrate succesful South Africans without racism .

  • Will-0-Wisp

    How could you leave out ARNOLD VOSLOO???????????????????

  • Hello

    lol slide 11 😀

  • jack daniels

    South Africa – really? – thats the location, y’all

  • Manohman

    You all are hilarious. There are hundreds of blacks dedicating their lives to science and medical research. Sorry, they’re not famous enough for Wikipedia but anyone amongst the doctorate community can tell you about their fellows.

  • Justmy2cents

    So apparently the whole jist of the article was missed. Its about celebrities that you wouldnt know were from South Africa. Having travelled to Europe recently people were quite shocked that I was South African because I was white. I think turning this whole article into a racial issue is a little bit childish. again its about celebrities that you may not know were South African.

  • Patrick Pitso II

    Earl Sweatshirt

  • Okyere Kenneth

    what about ghanaians

  • Okyere Kenneth

    Kwesi Asare in (hawaii five series)

  • Patrick

    lol they are all whites, blacks sucks
    only the whites in south africa are the very successful ones and known world wide

    • Ann30nymous

      Don’t be ridiculous! Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Mbulelo Mabizela, Aaron Mokoena, Lucas Radebe, K. Sello Duiker, Gcina Mhlope, Phaswane Mpe, Wally Serote, Sol Plaatjie, Mbongeni Ngema, Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba, Mbongeni Ngema… more people than I can name!!!

      And to add more White folk – Elon Musk (WHY is he not there?), Johan Botha, Mimi Coertse, Sharlto Copley etc…

  • Ongied

    hahahahahahahah Lmao

  • Rob

    What about Arnold Vosloo, Mark Shuttleworth, Alice Kriege and Mpho Koaho (although born in Canada, both his parents are South African and has a very common South African name)?

  • Tat Wolfen

    Firstly, I think most people know that Charlize Theron was South African, so that’s no newsflash… Ditto re Ernie Els. We did indeed realise – in both cases.

    Re Sienna Miller: Her mother may have been S African, but she isn’t “from South Africa”. Plus the film ‘The Girl’ was largely shot in Cape Town, but not “set in Cape Town” as the caption says. Neither is Orlando Bloom from SA. Not even “sort-of”. Talk about a stretch…

    Finally, Dean Geyer really needs to change that surname if he wants to work in Hollywood. It’s so open to interpretation, given that Americans don’t know the Afrikaans “g”. 😉

  • Andy

    What about Trevor Rabin and Embeth Davids!

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