Best of the best: 3 of Africa’s hardest working creatives globally

From music to comedy and fashion design, a handful of creatives from the African continent have in recent years been taking the world by storm. As we slowly approach year-end, here's a look at 3 of the hardest working talents flying the African flag high on global stages 

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Dressed in black, Nigerian singer D'banj posing for a picture in the studio
Nigerian superstar D'banj is credited for leading the export of afrobeats to the UK and US
  • D’BANJ

Concert: D’banj and The Compozers: Koko Concert (UK)

Hot on heels of his much talked-about performance at the Afro Nation Festival in Portugal, D’Banj aka the king of Afrobeats, is set to take over the UK dance floors this weekend as part of the Koko Concert international tour. The Nigerian superstar shows no signs of slowing down as he’s set to fly straight to London from Los Angeles, US where he has just concluded a series of studio sessions with an array of producers for his eargely awaited 6th album.

Performing alongside the London based music collective, The Compozers, the multi-award winning musician will perform a series of shows starting at the Roots Bar, Manchester on Friday, August 23, with the final show set for London’s O2 Brixton Academy on Sunday, August 25. Presented by LiveNation & Smade Entertainment, he will undoubtedly bring the house down with some of his biggest hits including globally acclaimed classic “Oliver Twist” and current hits “Emergency”, “Fall in Love” and his newly released hit single “Mo Cover Eh”.

Nigerian music superstar D’banj will perform at London’s 02 Brixton Academy on Sunday

Credited as one of the main African/Nigerian artists leading the export of afrobeats to the UK and US, since entering the music scene with his 2005 debut album “No Long Thing”, D’banj has won a number of awards over the years including the 2011 BET for Best International African Act, 2007 MTV EMA’s Best African Act and the Best-selling African Artist at the 2014 World Music Awards.

Ranked as the richest solo musician in Nigeria, according to T.I.N Magazine, in June 2011 D’banj was signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music record label. He has since played at some major festivals over the years, including the Hackney Weekend which was headlined by Rihanna and Jay-Z. 

Tickets for D’banj’s UK Koko Concerts can be purchased here!

  • Laduma Ngxokolo

Show: Maxhosa Africa: New York Fashion Week – Made in Africa 2020

For the first time during the New York Fashion Week, the Made in Africa 2020 programme will present premiere runway presentations from South African fashion design extraordinare, Laduma Ngxokolo, founder of Maxhosa Africa, at Pier 59 Studios in New York on Thursday, September 5. The internationally renowned designer is showcasing under the SiziiKumnkani NeeKumnkanikazi (We Are Kings and Queens) grouping, which portrays the regal majesty of Africans and Africa. Dubbed “The Cradle of Mankind”, the collection showcases the cultural roots and traditions of Africa, he says adding: “My desire is to have my work restore dignity to the continent, so that each garment may reflect a modern, current aesthetic, yet, with an ancient philosophy behind my brand, set in our rich African heritage with its observance of ceremony.”

Ngxokolo’s exceptional craftsmanship and isiXhosa inspired haute couture designs can be traced back to his traditional heritage. A Master’s degree graduate in material futures from the University of the Arts London: Central Martins School, and a B Tech (Textile Design & Technology) cum laude from the Nelson Mandela University, the Eastern Cape born talent has been cited by number of celebrities such as American pop sensation Beyoncé and billionaire Bill Gates as an outstanding African designer. In 2017 he received the inaugural Vogue Italia Scouting For Africa prize to present his collections at the Palazzo Morando Show in Milan.

Designer Laduma Ngxokolo addressing guests at the unveiling of Maxhosa Africa studio in Johannesburg
Laduma Ngxokolo, founder of the Maxhosa Africa will make his New York Fashion Week debut in September. Image: NOWinSA


Paving the way for the future generation of African fashion designers, Ngxokolo will make his NYFW debut alongside Belgian-born Mozambican designer, Eliana Murargy. “Truly great artistry is not achieved through knowledge or mastery alone, but, by divine inspiration from those who have come before. Their spirit lives through the hands, lives and souls of our modern African ateliers”, creative director, Paul Leisegang, says of their NYFW participation.

  • Trevor Noah

Breaking news: Noah ranked as the 4th highest earning comedian in the world

Since taking over the reins as “The Daily Show” host in 2015, Trevor Noah’s meteoric rise to the higher echelons of global comedy has been nothing short of phenomenal. Hot of the heels of being dubbed the “busiest man in comedy” by US publication The Hollywood Reporter in June this year, the Soweto-born comedian was this week enlisted in the Forbes’ Rich List for 2019 as the fourth-highest paid comedian in the world. The ranking subsequently make him the richest comedian in Africa, with a total earning of $28m (R430-million) in the period between June 2018 and June 2019 from several projects, including his hosting duties for “The Daily Show”. 

“Despite the demands of hosting a late-night show, Noah made more than 70 stops across the world and had his second Netflix special last fall,” the magazine is quoted as saying. In the list, the former soap star comes behind American comedians, Kevin Hart with $59m, Jerry Seinfeld with $41 and Jim Gaffigan with $30m. Comedian and actress Amy Schumer is the only woman appearing on the list at number 7 with $21 million in total earnings. In addition to his 70-stop world tour as a stand-up comedian, the report credits Noah’s 2018 earnings to his shows on Netflix, as well as book sales from his bestselling autobiography, “Born A Crime”, currently ranked No. 1 on the New York Times’ bestseller list for paperback nonfiction. 

In 2015 Noah officially joined “The Daily Show” as the host – where reportedly makes $4 million a year – after having made appearances on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “The Late Show With David Letterman”. A year after appearing and working as a correspondent for the “Daily Show With Jon Stewart”, Comedy Central announced that he would replace Stewart upon his departure from the show in 2015. He has since bagged a number of awards, notably his first Emmy Awards for Best Short Form Variety Series for his YouTube special, “The Daily Show: Between the Scenes” and NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for “Born a Crime” – both in 2017. 

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