A few number of Africans have been named among the most influential persons in the world for the year 2019, by TIME magazine. Former business mogul and current president of
South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, Ethiopia’s reform-minded prime minister Abiy Ahmed, Egypt’s football star Mohamed Salah and transgender athlete Caster Semenya are profiled.
John Oliver on Mo Salah: “Mo Salah is a better human being than he is a football player. And he’s one of the best football players in the world.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional athlete in any sport less affected by their success or status than Mo, which is incredible because I can’t imagine the kind of pressure that comes with the intensity of adoration he receives. Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously.
As a footballer, he plays with an infectious joy. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be able to play as well as him, and watching his face light up after he does something incredible, you get the reassuring sense that it’s exactly as fun as you’d want it to be.
I absolutely love him.”
Vivienne Walt on Ramaphosa: “South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has perfected the art of patience. Raised in the township of Soweto, he honed his political skills helping his country navigate its way out of apartheid. Then, when he was sidelined for the presidency in the 1990s, he harnessed his cunning and gregariousness to make a vast fortune in business, while his rivals sank the country into dysfunction and cronyism.
Now finally, at 66, Ramaphosa, or Cyril, as he’s known to South Africans, has the chance to end corruption and grow the stalled economy. That could be his toughest battle yet. Blackouts, grinding poverty and massive unemployment have left millions desperate for quick results. Vicious infighting in his African National Congress party leaves him vulnerable to a coup, or perhaps an ouster in elections on May 8. For all that, Ramaphosa has kept his characteristic chuckle and his knack for focusing on the bigger picture. “Unity,” he said recently, “was never going to happen overnight.” After a lifetime fighting his enemies, he should know.”