18 African millennials to watch in 2018

“No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.” – Lupita Nyong’o

Happy (US) Black History Month! Since the 1970s, BHM is an annual celebration of Black culture, Black people and their role in history. February is BHM in the United States. Since I became aware of it, every February has been a chance to become better acquainted with people who look(ed) like and inspire me to keep trying to do what’s right and help others while I pursue my dreams and all I am passionate about. Thanks to BHM, February is an opportunity to learn, remember, celebrate and congratulate. I intend to do that on my blog and social media accounts this year. Given my story, interests and experience, I will highlight the beauty of Africa and the work of black people in Africa and the diaspora to help change the way we and our spaces are portrayed in the media.

This post acknowledges 18 hard-working and inspiring African millennials. Born between the early 1980s and late 1990s, they are founders, actors, creators and trailblazers. Intentionally or not, they “put Africa on the map” and produce exemplary work on and/or outside the continent. They have been featured in well-known and popular publications and media platforms like Vogue, the New York Times, Le Monde or CNN. In the list below you will find a WEF Young Global Leader, YALI Fellow, Oscar winner, and members of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list as well as some finalists. I hope you will be as inspired as I am after reading their names, work, story and trajectory.

Photo credit: Nkululeko Mabena

18 African millennials to watch in 2018  

Development, social and humanitarian work

Saran Kaba Jones, Founder of Face Africa (Liberia)

Ilwad Elman, Social activist (Canada/Somalia)

Film and Television

John Boyega, Actor (Nigeria/ UK)

David Kaluuya, Actor and Writer (UK/ Uganda)

Lupita Nyong’o, Actress and Producer (Kenya/ Mexico)

Jo-Issa Rae Diop, Actress, Writer, Director and Producer (Senegal/USA)


Akwaeke Emezi, Writer (Malaysia/Nigeria)


Ayodeji Balogun (Wizkid), Singer and Songwriter (Nigeria)



Yagazie Emezi, Photographer (Malaysia/Nigeria)

Joshua Kissi, Photographer and Co-founder of Street Etiquette and TONL (Ghana/USA)

Trevor Stuurman, Photographer (Vogue Contributor) and Creative Director (South Africa)


Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Co-Founder of Andela and Founder of Flutterwave (Nigeria)

Hany Rashwan, Founder of Ribbon and Payout (Egypt)

Travel/ Tourism

Diane Audrey Ngako, Founder of Visiter L’Afrique and Director of Omenkart (Cameroon)

The Lives Team (Marouane Gasnier, Olivia Codou Ndiaye, Mamy Tall and Mamadou “Papi” Wane), Founders of The Lives Hub (Morocco, Japan/Senegal, Senegal and Senegal)

Who (else) inspires you?

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    • 17 February 2018 / 6:02 pm

      Hi Sheena! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your feedback and thoughts on the post. I’m glad it has inspired you to check out some of the names on the list! x

  1. wwornheels
    12 February 2018 / 4:59 pm

    Love the list and I’m glad I know most of the people on your list!!! Others that initially come to mind are the founders of ‘She leads Africa – don’t recall their names right now, Bozoma St John (Badass Boz), Kemi Adetiba, Adebola Williams, and the founders to Jumia but I can’t recall names right now. I’ have a few others but let me stop haha!

    • 17 February 2018 / 6:22 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on the post, Dee! Some of the names you mentioned definitely deserve a spot on the list. In fact, I considered adding Afua Osei and Yasmin Belo-Osagie (the founders of She Leads Africa). Others, like Bozoma St. John, aren’t millennials (I think?) although they are really inspiring and do “put Africa on the map.” The fact that you have a long list just proves there’s a lot of talent on the continent and we’re so blessed to have these people pave the way for us and be shoulders we can stand on..

  2. 7 February 2018 / 12:18 pm

    Well done for this post! It’s so important to celebrate our people. That is why my blog only explores black writers. What about Fuse ODG for music and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for literature?



    • 11 February 2018 / 5:50 pm

      Thanks, Madeline. You’re right – we have to celebrate our own. I like Fuse ODG and Chimamanda’s works. Though CNA isn’t a millennial, I agree that she and Fuse are inspiring young Africans.

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