7 Most Inspiring African Leaders

African leaders
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An overview of African Leaders

The stories about African leaders may not be inspiring at all. Most of them have been known for corruption, engaging in violence, and a lot of fake promises. Some of them have faced justice, others are still untouchable. But, there are still many African leaders who chose the right way of doing things. There are those who didn’t allow power and money to influence how they handled their citizens.

We still have corrupt leaders though, and others are still war-torn. The following is a round-up of inspiring stories of African leaders. These leaders endured to bring change in Africa’s leadership. The leaders we have today can emulate them to make Africa and the world a better place.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is one of the most influential leaders Africa has ever had. He was humble, dedicated, and determined to change the situation for those around him. Mandela  fought against discrimination against the black people South Africa (Apartheid). He also became South Africa’s first black president, where he ruled from 1994 – 1999.

These achievements didn’t come on a Silver platter. He confronted the Government without fear. As a result, he was arrested and served 27 years in jail. He led reconciliation initiatives to bring an end to apartheid. Nelson Mandela also contributed in bringing an end to poverty in South Africa.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018.  She made history in 2006 when she became the first elected female president in Africa.

Ellen has a wide background in Accounting and Economics. This led to her serving her country and global organizations in the finance sector. She suffered abuse in her marriage which led to her divorce. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did not shy away from criticizing the government. As a result, she escaped her country a couple of times in fear of retaliation. She expressed humility and dedication in getting rid of debt and peacekeeping. She was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for fighting for women’s rights and peace building.

Julius Nyerere

Julius Nyerere was the first prime minister of Tanganyika. He was also the first president of Tanzania.  Thanks to him, Zanzibar and Tanganyika united to form present day Tanzania. He is also the father of African Uniuon (AU). Mr. Nyerere studied in Makerere University and taught in many Roman Catholic Schools before moving to Edinburgh for further studies in History and Economics.

He joined politics and brought change. As a result, he formed the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). He upheld social equality, peaceful change, and he was against racism and tribalism. Julius Nyerere also led Tanganyika to gaining independence from the British. He brought about free education, literacy, and the famous Ujamaa. Ujamaa is and the egalitarian socialist society based cooperative agriculture practiced in Tanzania.

Thomas Sankara

Thomas Isidole Noel Sankara was the first president of Burkina Faso. He named the country Burkina Faso. It was formerly known as Republic of Upper Volta. Apparently Burkina Faso means, “Land of Incorruptible People”. He achieved the following during his reign;

  • Reforestation of the Sahel region by a planting more than 10 million trees.
  • Upheld quality by redistributing the grabbed land to the poor.
  • Leading a campaign of building social amenities such as hospitals and schools.
  • He banned FGM, forced marriages and encouraged  women to work and get education. He also appointed them into various Government positions.

Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame is the current president of Rwanda. He is also described as the most impressive leaders in Africa. He took office in 2000 after his predecessor, Pasteur Bimizungu, resigned. Paul Jagame is from a Tutsi family. His family fled to Uganda when he was two years old. This is a result of the political tension in the country at that time. He served in the Ugandan Military before joining the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
Kagame played a major role in stopping the genocide. In the past 2 decades, Kagame has developed Rwanda’s economy and maintained law and order. Rwanda has also experienced rapid economic growth, reduced poverty and reduced inequality.

You can also check this post on The Untold Story of Present Day Rwanda

Jomo Kenyatta

Jomo Kenyatta was the first prime minister and the first President of Kenya. He fought to liberate Kenya from colonial rule by the British. Jomo Kenyatta led Kenya to gaining independence in 1963. He then led Kenya as its president from 1963 to his death in 1978. Kenya has grown to one of the biggest economies in East Africa and Africa at large. We can’t mention without remembering this great hero. His son, Uhuru Kenyatta, continues his legacy today as Kenya’s fourth President.


Leymah Gbowee

Our last entry into the list is not a Political leader. She is actually activist based in Liberia. Yet, she i still recognized as one of the greatest African leaders. Gbowee provides education and leadership opportunities across Africa. This is through the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. She helps women and young girls, especially from rural areas. She also won a Nobel Peace prize in 2011 for her efforts in stopping the Second Liberian Civil War.


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