Diaspora Stands Up

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

The African diaspora is spread all over the six continents and is blessed with some of the greatest minds who have been making waves across the world. From entrepreneurs running multimillion-dollar companies to scientists and GM of some of the most popular basketball clubs in the NBA, here are some inspiring citizens of the African Diaspora you should know about.

Bertin Nahum 


Bertin Nahum, a native of the country of Benin, is a Beninese-French entrepreneur born on November 14, 1969, in Dakar, Senegal. Nahum is one of the founders and CEO of Montpellier-based Quantum Surgical. He founded the company initially in 2002 and is specialized in designing, developing, and marketing surgical assistance robots. In 2016, Quantum Surgical was sold to Zimmer Biomet.

Bertin Nahum attended his studies in France at the National Institute of Applied Sciences, based in Lyon, where he obtained a degree in Engineering. He also studied Masters in Robotics at UK’s Coventry University. Nahum amassed valuable experience in medical engineering after he collaborated with notable surgeons. With this experience, Nahum decided to start creating medical technology devices to improve surgical interventions. In 2002, he began Medtech S.A. after winning the national innovative start-up companies contest held by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Bertin Nahum’s first company was Medtech S.A., which he launched in Montpellier in 2002. The company developed minimally-invasive surgical equipment. The company’s first robot was named BRIGIT and was designed to assist physicians in the minimally-invasive placement of knee prostheses. In 2006, Medtech sold its entire patent portfolio for BRIGIT to Zimmer In., an orthopedic surgery company. The proceeds were reinvested in a new research program that led to the company discovering ROSA robot, which has been used with patients suffering from a wide range of diseases, including hydrocephalus, Parkinson’s, and drug-resistant types of epilepsy.

In 2013, Medtech went public and was fully acquired by Zimmer Biomet Group in 2016. Bertin Nahum remained in charge of the company until January 2017 when he, alongside three other former associates, founded a new company called Quantum Surgical. The company was also based in Montpellier and, just like his previous company, it dabbles in the field of minimally-invasive surgical robotics, but now focusing on the treatment of cancer. In 2018, Quantum Surgical managed to raise $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Ally Bridge Group. With Bertin Nahum, it was always venturing into the field he knows very well and created a solution to one of the biggest problems in the field of health. In 2012, Nahum was listed among the top 10 revolutionary High-Tech Entrepreneurs by Discovery Series magazine based in Canada. He was ranked fourth behind behemoths, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and James Cameron. Piece of advice from Nahum; always be optimistic and positive. 

Silas Adekunle 


Silas Adekunle is 29 years old. He developed the world’s first-ever intelligent gaming robot, which got him a partnership with Apple and Amazon. Adekunle was born in Nigeria and migrated to the United Kingdom when he was just 11 years old. Since his childhood, he has been extremely obsessed with science and new technology, which made him play a lot with Lego robots and watching videos to try and learn how to build robots. Adekunle graduated with a first-class degree in Robotics from the University of the West of England.

His company, Reach Robotics, is an augmented reality gaming company that focuses on developing intelligent robots for gaming, as well as for STEM education. His partnership with Apple is a distribution deal that enables him to sell his products in Britain and the United States. He featured in the Financial Times list of the ‘Top 100 minority ethnic leaders in technology’ 2018 edition. After raising about $7.8 million in funding, Reach Robotics launched MekaMon gaming robots in 2016, which combined Augmented Reality (AR) with a four-legged toy robot. The company also launched MekaMon 2.0 in December 2018. 

Iddris Sandu 

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Most of you use Instagram and Snapchat daily as well as Instagram, but I bet a few of you have heard about Iddris Sandu, the brain behind the technology running these tech giants.

Iddris Sandu is 22 years old from Ghana and started learning to program when he was just ten years old, on his own. He was later discovered by a designer from Google, who offered him the prestigious internship at the company’s headquarters. When he was 13, he started working on various programs, including Google Plus, Google blogger, and many more. He also developed a mobile application for his high school that helped students navigate their classrooms. At 16, Iddris developed mobile software that even caught the attention of the then United States President Barrack Obama, and was invited to the White House where he was given an honorary presidential award. Iddris Sandu is living in Los Angeles and has accomplished virtually everything, including creating an algorithm behind Uber, Snapchat, and Instagram. He thinks of himself as a “cultural architect” who aims “to level the playing field” between young minorities and the Silicon Valley.

Iddris Sandu was attracted to technology when he saw the first version of the iPhone. He was quoted saying, “I got super excited. I thought the device was going to change the world. The reason why the iPhone was so important was that it was the first time regular consumers could develop for other regular consumers. Before, you had to work at a tech company for multiple years to be able to offer any sort of input or create an app. But Apple made it to the mainstream. I knew the future.”With his huge drive to make a change among the African youths, this tech genius has already made considerable strides to becoming an inspiration to the next generation of influencers, as well as entrepreneurs. 

Ime Archibong 

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Ime Archibong is Nigerian born and the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the social media giant, Facebook. His roles include directing activities at the company while leading the team on fast-tracking product strategies by establishing partnerships, unraveling new business opportunities with leading firms across various sectors, and driving product integrations. Archibong has been seen with CEO Mark Zuckerberg on many occasions that he is sometimes referred to as his deputy, and has contributed significantly to transforming the company into something beyond just a social media platform. He is one of the most trusted people at Facebook, and you will see him with the company's top brass at every function and trip.

Archibong is the key to Facebook’s 10-year vision: Connecting billions of more people around the world to the internet, and to Facebook. The vision entails the company investing in all kinds of new hardware, including drones and antennas, and work with partners all around the world to facilitate the internet connection and into the Facebook community.

At Facebook, Archibong ensures that internet access is affordable as well as raising awareness on the benefits of being online and not just on Facebook alone.

Before joining Facebook, Archibong was an Advanced Technology Business Development Professional at another tech giant IBM, where he focused on licensing the company’s storage research portfolio. It was at IBM that Archibong started his software engineering career, and was stationed at Systems and Technology Group, before being moved to the corporate strategy team and business development team.

Archibong holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Yale University, as well as an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also one of the 40 Under 40 Tech Diversity launched in 2015 in Silicon. The individuals in this group are considered to have heightened the focus in the tech industry to embrace diversity.  

Fumbi Chima 

Photo source: Face2FaceAfrica

Our next entry is a lady who has been a source of inspiration to many young women in Africa, Fumbi Chima. Mrs. Chima is from Nigeria and has been the Chief Information Officer for FOX Networks Group before joining Adidas in November last year (2018). At Fox, Chima delivered global leadership to technology and operations team across 70 countries, changing the culture to one of innovation, transparency, interdependence, accountability, and impact. It is a position she held with so much distinction that the sportswear giants Adidas decided to poach her. She holds the same role at Adidas.

Before her stint at Fox Network Group, Chima worked in a similar capacity at the fashion giants Burberry and online retail store Walmart Stores, Asia. Throughout her career, Chima has been responsible for operational management and IT security.

Fumbi is an advocate of diversity, inclusion, and women. She is currently spearheading an effort to create mentoring opportunities for African women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – STEM. She is also on the Advisory Board for Diplomatic Couriers. She is also a non-Executive Director for Global Sources, as well as a member of the United Nations Digital Task Force, which works to enhance the digital economy in Asia. Fumbi also serves on the board of the World Affairs Council as well as a member of the International Women’s Forum and Executive Leadership Council.

Fumbi Chima is an experienced, ROI-driven business leader with a broad experience leading the world’s largest global IT companies. Mrs. Fumbi holds a Bachelor’s degree in politics and philosophy from The University of Hull, United Kingdom. The fact that she held a Chief Information Officer role in Information Technology, a field that is still dominated by male, is something to greatly admire. 

Osatohanmwen Osemwengie

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Dr. Osatohanmwen Osemwengie was born in Edo State, Benin, Nigeria. He left Nigeria in the 1980s for the United States of America, where he becomes an integral part of the American armed forces. Osemwengie is worldwide known for his powerful drone armies in the world. His drones are operated by the United States Army for surveillance to gather important data, information, as well as take out terrorist camps.

Osemwengie is one of the highly learned individuals, boasting seven master’s degrees and three doctorate degrees. He served at the College of Education in Benin as an administrator, where he scooped the Educator of the Year award for securing funding used to design, develop, and implement pre-service teacher education programs.

In 2008, Osemwengie enhanced his stocks in the field of robotics after he coached robotics in the world robotics championships as well as a software engineering mentor to robotic teams. Osemwengie has also worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and has managed to successfully send drones to various planets, including Jupiter and Mars. According to him, he worked on the prototype of Mars Curiosity Rover that has been roaming the surface of Mars for over 4 years now, and was quoted saying, “we are now working on the next rover set to launch in 2020.”

Dr. Osato founded the Open Robotics University in 2011 in the United States, and is described as one of the first tuition-free engineer-granting university in the world that “enables anyone to further exercise their talents and expand their knowledge into all fields related to engineering.” 

Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu 

Photo source: JPL-robotics-Nasa

Ashitey is the chief engineer of a team created to design robots for NASA missions at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, California, United States. He was one engineer that worked at the Mars Exploration Rover project in 2003 and the Phoenix aircraft that discovered water on Mars in 2018, as well as the Mars Science Laboratory in 2011. Ashitey is the team leader of the system of the craft that is used in NASA’s InSight mission to Mars.

Ashitey was born in Accra, Ghana, and his fascination for space exploration started when he was still a young boy. He finished his secondary education at the Ghana Secondary Technical School and left his country for the United Kingdom to further his education. He received his Bachelor of Engineering in Avionics at the Queen Mary University of London in 1991. It was in 1999 when he had a breakthrough after Joining NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He instantly rose through the ranks to become the team leader that designed the Mars Rover robot that landed on Mars.Ashitey has won numerous awards, including the JPL Mariner Award in 2006 from MER “For outstanding leadership in the analysis and resolution of the IDD unstows anomaly on Opportunity Rover.” He also won an Outstanding Engineer Award in 2007. 

Seni Sulyman 


Seni Sulyman was born in Nigeria, in the year 1985. He is currently the vice-president of Global Operations at Andela, an engineering company that is responsible for building a network of African technology leaders and software developers to help companies, as well as the continent as a whole, to build better products and overcome the tech talent shortage. With over 1000 African developers working from various hubs, Andela aims to grow a million more home-grown software engineers in the next ten years. This dream is being facilitated by Sulyman, an engineer and Harvard-trained business executive.

Before joining Andela, Sulyman had worked with HP, Konga, CardinalStone, Bain & Company, and Bristow. Besides working at Andela, he is also the founder of the AYPAfrica, a company that nurtures skillful and talented young Africans to achieve self-actualization.

He joined Andela back in 2016 as the Director of Operations for Nigeria. He later moved up the ranks to the Country Director of Nigeria in 2017. Under his short time with Andela, the organization has grown its Nigeria branch by over 400%, after the launch of a state-of-the-art technology office in Lagos. 

Virgil Abloh


The famed fashion designer is behind rap star Kanye West, and also the founder of the luxury brand called Off-White. In 2018, he was appointed the artistic director at Louis Vuitton, a move that made him the first African-American to hold that position in the history of the company.

Abloh’s parents are Ghanaians and he was born on September 30, 1980, in Rockford, Illinois. He is a trained architect, but he found a breakthrough in the international fashion scene in 2009 after he joined Fendi as an intern alongside rapper Kanye West. They were both sent to the company’s Rome office, where they began a collaborative relationship.

In 2018, Abloh was named by the Time magazine in the list of 100 most influential people in the world.

Abloh partnered with Kanye West’s companion to launch the RSVP Gallery in Chicago. This retail fashion store became very popular for selling a blend of fashion apparel. One year later, in 2010, Abloh was appointed by Kanye West as the creative director of DONDA, and in 2012, he worked as artists’ director for the West’s famous rap album with Jay Z, Watch the Throne. In the same year, Abloh founded his own company called Pyrex Vision. Using his new company, he purchased deadstock clothing from Champion for $40 and screen-printed, then sold them at over $550. But he closed Pyrex Vision a year later because he didn’t want the company to be a commercial enterprise, but rather an artistic experiment.

In 2013, Abloh launched his first-ever fashion house and second business when he founded Off-White. The company was based in Milan, Italy, and according to Abloh, it was “the gray area between black and white as the color off-white.” His launch was aided by New Guards Group, who had previously helped other designers and brands. His business took off instantly, starting with Paris, and then China and Tokyo, as well as his home country, the United States.

Abloh displayed his collections at the Paris Fashion Week in 2014. His clothing line was also selected as a finalist for the LVMH Prize but lost to Marques’ Almeida and Jacquemus. He launched Off-White in Tokyo, Japan, but diversifying to furniture arm under Grey Area. In 2017, Abloh helped design a new collection in collaboration with Nike called “The Ten,” where he designed a wide range of the company’s bestselling shoes to date.

Recently, Abloh has partnered with the furniture giant IKEA to design new furniture for houses and apartments. The new collection will be titled “markerad,” which means ‘clear-cut’ in Swedish. Abloh wants the collection to include furniture with modern designs.

In 2018, Abloh was named the artistic director of Luis Vuitton. His first-ever collection of Luis Vuitton was showcased at the 2018 Men’s Fashion Week held at the famous Palais-Royal gardens in Paris, France. And the first person to wear Abloh was the pop star, Rihanna.

Abloh’s designs have been in high demand, and he even designed outfits for Serena Williams that she wore during the 2018 U.S. Open.

Dr. Philip Emeagwali 

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Dr. Emeagwali is often credited for inventing the world’s first supercomputer capable of performing over 3 billion calculations in one second. His work is often associated with the advent of the internet as we know it. But there has been some discourse as to his actual contributions to computer and network development over the years.

Philip was born in 1954 in Akure, Nigeria. The Nigerian Civil War of 1967 halted his early education for some times and even served in the Biafran army when he was 13 years old. However, he completed high school after the war through self-study. He was awarded a scholarship and moved to the United States to pursue his higher learning education at Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, in 1977. He also received a master’s degree in Ocean and Marine Engineering from the George Washington University in Washington D.C., as well as a second master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Philip has been often referred to as the “Bill Gates of Africa,” and before even the real Bill Gates, he was receiving accolades for his application for CM-2 massively-parallel computer in 1989.

His Connection Machine was the world’s most powerful computer at the time. It is an intrinsic supercomputer that, to program, it requires an in-depth knowledge of how all 65,536 processors are interlinked. The processing nodes of the computer are configured as a cube in some sort of the 12-dimensional universe, despite it solving problems arising from the 3-dimensional universe. For it to perform fast computation, he categorized the calculations among the 65,536 processors and squeezed performance from each processor. It took him over 1000 pages to describe all the hundreds of mathematical equations. 

Dr. Marian Croak 

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While many people who are not tech-geeks may not know who Marian Croak is, her contribution to internet-based audio/video cannot be taken lightly. She is the brain behind the VOI technology, which enables platforms such as Vonage, Skype, and MagicJack to function. She is African-American with aPh.D. holder in quantitative analysis from the University of Southern California.

She started her career at AT&T, where she worked for over 30 years and served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development of the company. Dr. Croak predicted that IP and the internet would be a hit, which motivated her to develop a technology that would transform the internet forever.

Dr. Croak holds more than 125 patents in VOI technology and manages over 2,000 engineers and computer scientists responsible for AT&T’s enterprise and consumer wireline and mobility services. She is also the Google Vice President of Engineering.

Dr. Croak grew up in New York and attended Princeton University for a degree and the University of Southern California for doctoral in 1982, specializing in social psychology and quantitative analysis.

During her stint with AT&T, she championed the switching from wired phone technology to IP or Internet Protocol. She is credited for the use of phone network services to allow everyone to donate during a crisis appeal. When AT&T collaborated with American Idol to use a text voting system, it enabled 22% of viewers to learn how to text for them to take part in the show. She later filed the patent for text-based donations in 2005 to charity. This move transformed how people started to donate money to charitable organizations.

In 2013, Dr. Croak was inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame and was elected Vice-Chair of ATIS, an organization focusing on technological development. She was also honored for “Outstanding Technical Contribution – Industry” during the Black Engineering of the Year (BEYA) Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Conference held in Washington D.C. in 2014. 

Dr. Mathias Fobi

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Dr. Matias Fobi is a Cameroonian native Bariatric surgeon behind the internationally recognized The Fobi Pouch procedure. He is based in Carson, California, and is associated with numerous notable hospitals around the region, such as Southern California Hospital and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Culver City.

He obtained his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College Of Medicine and has amassed over 20 years of experience in medicine. Dr. Fobi is known to have performed his famous procedures on several Hollywood celebrities, including Randy Jackson and Roseanne Barr.

Dr. Fobi, or MAL, as he is known to his close friends has been a Fellow of ICS for 24 years, and is the current Congress President of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders Scientific Congress (ISO2010) held in Long Beach, California.

Fobi is also known widely as Hollywood’s weight loss surgeon and has made over 1000 surgeries in the United States. His patented procedures and inventions help other surgeons around the world too. He has conducted over 20 research projects in the field of surgical treatment of obesity as well as over 2450 lectures and presentations at local, national, and international stages. Dr. Fobi has contributed to more than 40 publications on the subject of obesity as well as Bariatric Surgery. He held the seat of the President of the California Chapter of American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the President of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation between 2006 and 2008.

His patented signature surgery – The Fobi Pouch – is a type of stomach-shrinking gastric bypass and has been adopted worldwide. 

Bozoma Saint John

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Bozoma Saint John's family background is Ghanaian, but she was born on January 21, 1977, in Connecticut, United States. Bozoma Saint John is a renowned American businesswoman and seasoned marketing executive who is currently holding the position of chief marketing officer at William Morris Endeavor. Before her current post, she was a chief brand officer at Uber and a marketing executive at Apple Music until June 2017 after joining the company as part of the acquisition of Beats Music.

Saint John, though, was born in the United States, grew up for a while in Ghana before moving back to the States when she was 12 years old. Her father was a member of the Ghana Army and a clarinet player.

Saint John has cited her father as her source of inspiration. In 1999, she received her English degree from the Wesleyan University, the same institution where her father received a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology.

She worked as Arnold Worldwide and Spike Lee’s DDB after college, as well as for fashion brand Ashley Stewart as a vice president of marketing.

Saint John also played a crucial role in bringing PepsiCo into music and festival-based marketing during her time at the company as the head of Music and Entertainment Marketing, and the department was also created from her idea that the company should focus on sponsoring music festivals as well as award shows. She left the company in 2014 and joined Beats Music after Jimmy Lovine personally recruited her. When Apple acquired Beats Music, Saint John became the head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes. She made headlines in 2016 after her presentation at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Many commentators complimented her personality and likened it to the company’s emphasis on the complete overhaul of iTunes and Apple Music.

Billboard Magazine included her in the top women in music, as well as featuring in the Fast Company’s 100 most creative individuals and AdWeek’s most exciting personalities in advertising. She is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor.

Dr. Samuel Wandja 

Dr. Wandja, Born on October 1st, 1952, is a Cameroonian neurosurgeon who is considered one of the top in his field in Africa. He is also one of the most sought-after pioneers, expert, and lecturer, as well as researcher and speaker in the field of neurosurgery. Up to date, Dr. Wandja has performed over 10,000 complicated neurosurgery cases and helped mainly low-income families who could not afford the hospital bills for those types of operations. Dr. Wandja is also a renowned advocate for an encephalopathy-free Africa and given many talks about the disease as well as educate the masses as the disease is often seen as a curse in certain areas of Africa and, as a result, those children are castaways by their families or labeled “witch kids.” Cherished mentor, dedicated family man, and surgeon Dr. Wandja is the Founder of the first private neurosurgery clinic in Africa (GROUPE SANTE NEURO CLINIC).

He also founded state of the art facilities in central Africa called Center Hospitalier Pan Africain, to help as many patients as possible. He left Germany, where he was a top neurosurgeon to come back to Africa to use his skills to serve the population that is in dire need of professionals like him. If you want to learn more about neurosurgery and medicine in Africa and beyond, reach out to his hospital; they have an open-door policy to mentor anyone willing to work hard and interested in medicine or willing to give back their skills to the beautiful continent of Africa.

Lauren Simmons 


She was born in 1994, and at the age of 23, in 2017, she made history as the youngest and only full-time female trader at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Lauren Simmons is a former equity trader for Rosenblatt Securities, and the youngest woman to be a full-time broker on the New York Stock Exchange. She is also the second African-American female broker in the history of the Exchange.

Lauren graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2016, and receiving a bachelor’s degree in genetics and minor in statistics, she wanted to venture into genetic counseling but decided to put that decision on hold to satisfy her passion to move to New York City. In New York and a few networking latter, she met Richard Rosenblatt, the CEO of Rosenblatt Securities. While she had so many qualifications, it was her confidence that landed her the job as an Equity Trader.

But even after getting the approval of Rosenblatt himself, Lauren still had to take and pass the Series 19 exam, a requirement for all floor equity brokers to earn their badge. The fact that we are talking about her means she passed the exam, which later allowed her to make history. After her story broke out, Lauren received a lot of coverage and featured in several media outlets. Currently, she has a documentary based on her journey titled Wall Street. 

Adebayo Ogunlesi 

Photo source:global African business awards

Born on December 20, 1953, Adebayo Ogunlesi is a Nigerian lawyer and an investment banker, who is currently the Chairman and Managing Partner at Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

He is commonly referred to as “The Man Who Bought Gatwick Airport.”

His firm GIP was acquired in 2009, the majority of London Gatwick Airport. He also owns Edinburgh Airport and  Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, which they bought in February 2018.

He was also the head of Global Investment Banking at Credit Suisse First Boston before he was promoted to the position of Chief Client Officer and Executive Vice Chairman. His father is the first Nigerian medicine professor at the University of Ibadan. He attended King’s College secondary school in Lagos and a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University, England. He also received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School as well as an MBA at the Harvard Business School, both at the same time.

Currently, Ogunlesi is a member of the District of Colombia Bar Association. He is a recipient of The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence. 

Dr. Sandrine Mubenga

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Dr. Sandrine Mubenga was born in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She lived in different countries, including DRC, Belgium, France, the USA, and Senegal, courtesy of her parents being a United Nations diplomat. As a result, she is fluent in many languages, such as Swahili, Kikongo, French, English, and Tshiluba.

Mubenga is the founder and CEO of SMIN Power Group; a company specialized in the design and installation of renewable energy systems. The company is based in both DR Congo and the USA. Her company is recognized as among the Top 5 Innovators for delivering renewable energy in DRC. Professionally, Mubenga is a registered engineer based in Ohio, United States and she is fascinated about finding solutions for renewable energy and improving the lives of people. She has over 15 years of experience in the industry of renewable energy, which she either designed, interconnected, or approved 50,000KW of solar PV.

Perhaps one of her outstanding innovation was when she developed a hybrid vehicle that used hydrogen fuel cell. 

Imbolo Mbue



Imbolo Mbue is a novelist and a short storyteller currently based in New York City. Mbue was born in 1981 in Limbe, Cameroon. She grew up in her hometown until her family sponsored her college education in the United States. Her debut novel Behold the Dreamers propelled her into new heights as it earned her the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and Blue Metropolis Words to Change Award. She draws inspirations from the experiences she went through as an immigrant, as well as those of other immigrants chasing the American dream.

She was quoted talking with Oprah, saying that moving to America made her “had to learn to stand up, to stand out. I had to learn to be bolder. I don’t put up with things here that I would in Limbe.”

Imbolo Mbue worked as a marketer for a media company after completing her college studies but lost the job during the recession, in what was a blessing in disguise as she found time to focus on her award-winning novel Behold the Dreamers. Her process included strolling through the city of New York and observing the disparities in classes. The book explores the topics associated with the complexity of the immigration policies in the United States, as well as achievements and pursuance of the American Dream.

Due to the high demands of her book, it has been translated into French and German in recent years. Mbue has also written essays in notable publications, including The New York Times and The Guardian.

Issa Rae


Jo-Issa Rae Diop is a Senegalese native-born in January 1985 in Los Angeles, California. Her dad is a pediatrician and her mum a teacher. She is an actress, director, writer, web series creator, and producer. She first shot into the limelight with her successful YouTube web series Awkward Black Girl that launched in 2011. The show is about J (played by Rae) as she mingles with co-workers and loves who put her in very uncomfortable situations. She launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce the rest of the first season.

In 2013, her web series won a Shorty award for Best Web Show. The reason for creating the show was because she felt the stereotypes of African-American women were limiting in Hollywood, and she couldn’t relate to them. She also gained further attention for creating, co-writing, and starring in the HBO series Insecure. Her acting in the series earned her two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Rae has continued to develop and expand her YouTube channel, which features a variety of web series, short films, and other content created by people of color.

By using YouTube as her platform, Rae was able to have total control of her work since she writes, films, produces, and edits nearly all of her works. She also has other shows, including Ratchet Piece Theater, Roomieloverfriends, The “F” Word, and the Choir, among many others. Rae is also a novelist, and she wrote a memoir titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which was released in 2015 and become an instant hit, reaching the New York Times best-seller. Issa Rae uses her voice to bring attention to police violence and brutality against Black Americans. She even managed to raise $700,000 for the family of slain Alton Sterling.

Masai Ujiri 


Masai Ujiri is a Nigerian/Kenyan native-born in Bournemouth, England in 1970 from a Nigerian dad and a Kenyan mum.

He grew up in Zaria, Nigeria. His father was a hospital administrator and a nursing educator from Aviara in Delta state, while his mother was a doctor from Kenya.

He is the current President of the Toronto Raptors in the National Basketball Association.

Ujiri started his career as a football player, playing at an international youth level before picking up an interest in Basketball. His idol was Hakeem Olajuwon, an NBA star from Nigeria. During his playing career, Ujiri played for the Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets. In 2008, he joined the backroom staff at the Toronto Raptors but returned to the Nuggets in 2010 in a general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations capacity. During his tenure, he helped the team turn around its fortunes and taking them to the playoffs. This led to him being named the NBA Executive of the Year in 2013.

In 2014, Ujiri returned to the Raptors as the President of the basketball operations and transferred the success he enjoyed with the Nuggets to the Raptors. He helped the Raptors win its first NBA championship in 2019. He is also the director of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Africa program, focusing on promoting Basketball throughout the continent.  

This list shows that you can achieve just about anything if you put your mind and heart into it. What these ladies and gentlemen have achieved in their lives shows that Africa and the diaspora have great potential, and it is upon anyone to realize their potential and that there are no restrictions or limits to how far anyone can go. We hope you can get inspiration from these individuals and create a better world and a better Africa too. Also keep in mind that this is certainly not an exhaustive list, there are many other African talents out there or people of the diaspora at large in all continents that are excelling in their fields and doing amazing and inspiring things. Be motivated, keep working hard on your skills, and pursuing your dreams. You too can do great things and make the world a better place and inspire someone else to excel.

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