Nigerian creatives dominate Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list.
The 30 visionaries ply their trade in the business, technology, arts and sports industries. Whereas Forbes selected 120 names last year, with 30 names per industry, this year’s list comprises only 30 names in total, making a mention ever so elusive. The publication said it had received 3 000 nominations since the start of the year, before it could whittle the list down to 30 names.
“These are the men and women forging ahead with credible, creative and profound strategies to shape our tomorrow,” Forbes Africa said. “Celebrating six years of the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list, they are the continent’s revolutionary thinkers revitalising ideas and industries with fresh business models and innovative leadership.”
Nigeria dominates the list with four creatives working in or closely with the music industry, while South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda are represented by one each.
Nigeria’s DJ Cuppy, who has performed around the globe, is one Nigerian artist on the list. Among her accomplishments listed by Forbes is winning the Best Female DJ accolade at the Beatz Awards in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. She is also the mastermind of the Cuppy Foundation, an NGO aimed at uplifting women, children and people living with disabilities while tackling issues such as education, malnourishment and poverty.
Nigeria banku pioneer Mr Eazi is also on the list. “Mr Eazi’s ascent to global stardom has seen him clock over 280 million YouTube views and more than 4.1 million Spotify streams per month, making him one of the most streamed African artists worldwide,” Forbes Africa said about the founder of emPawa, a pan-African initiative that mentors and funds African musicians.
Swanky Jerry, born Jeremiah Ogbodo Ike, represents Nigeria’s fashion industry on this year’s list. He has dressed the likes of Pearl Thusi, Davido, Nyanda, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, AKA, Sarkodie and African presidents and first ladies, and has been featured internationally by CNN.
Completing the Nigerian chapter is reggae-dancehall artist Patoranking who is “recognisable both on the continent and the global music scene,” Forbes Africa writes. Among his accomplishments is being nominated for more than 40 awards.
Director Kit, real name Keitumetse Qhali, who was listed as one of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans in 2018, is the only creative from her country on the 30 Under 30 list. The 29 year old has directed and shot 29 films and videos, among other accomplishments.
Sasha Vybz, a video director and founder of Savy Filmz in Uganda, is the sole representative of East Africa’s arts sector on the list. He is currently one of the most sought-after music video directors for artists in Nigeria, South Africa and Burundi. CNN referred to him as a director “making music videos as an art form”.
Flying Ghana’s flag high is video director, producer, screenwriter Scilla Owusu. Apart from working with artists such as Nigeria’s Davido and Burna Boy as well as Ghana’s M.anifest, Stonebwoy and Sarkodie, she is the founder of Youngtrepreneurs, which seeks “to help young Ghanaian creatives improve their business knowledge, gain work skills and provide career opportunities,” Forbes Africa said.