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10 International Celebrities You Didn’t Know Are South Africans

While many are familiar with the South African heritage of Hollywood Bombshell – Charlize Theron, comedian/television host – Trevor Noah and supermodel – Candice Swanepoel , there are few a heavy hitting celebs you didn’t know were South Africans too.

Some of the names on this list will genuinely surprise you:

Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews Celebs You Didn't realize Were South Africans

Many people are not aware of this but the lead singer of the Dave Matthews Band – the Grammy award winning Dave Matthews is a South African. Matthews was born in South Africa on the 9th of January, 1967.In his early years, the actor and musician lived both in the United States and South Africa before relocating to the United States full time.

The South African Musician has found immense success in the United States including becoming the only band/group to have six of their consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard Music Charts.

The South African Musician has found immense success in the United States including becoming the only band/group to have six of their consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard Music Charts.


J.R.R Tolkien

j r r tolkien

One of the most influential authors in literature today, J.R.R Tolkien was born on the 3rd of January in Bloemfontein in present day South Africa.

He is best known as the writer of the high fantasy book series, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. Some of his works have been adapted in Hollywood blockbusters and are listed among some the highest grossing movies of all time.


Gugu Mbatha-Raw


This Oxford-born South African beauty is currently taking Hollywood by storm. Born to a South African doctor and an English nurse, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is recognizable from her appearance in the TV Series – Doctor Who, Touch; and in the movies Larry Crowne, Odd Thomas, Belle (as the titular character), Beyond the Lights, Jupiter Ascending, Concussion, Free State of Jones, The Whole truth and Miss Sloane.

She has currently finished filming Beauty and The Beast, A Wrinkle in Time and The God Particle. She is slated to be in the next Star Wars movie in a currently undisclosed role.


Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan

This youtube celebrity is probably among the list of celebs you didn’t know was South African primarily because he and his family relocated to Australia when the singer was only two years old. Troye Sivan was born on the 5th June, 1995 in Johannesburg.

He is best known to the international audience for his role as a younger Version of Logan (Wolverine) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine which also starred Liev Schrieber, Danny Huston, Will.I.am, Daniel Henney, Taylor Kitsch and Ryan Reynolds.

In 2014, he was named as one of 25 Most Influential Teens by Time magazine.


Sasha Pieterse

Sasha Pieterse

Sasha is best known for her role as Alison Dilaurentis in the ABC channel’s teen series – Pretty Little Liars. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, she was the youngest cast member on the show having landed the role at the age of 13. Besides starring in the critically acclaimed Pretty Little Liars, she played Amy Loubalu in Geek Charming, a Disney channel film and as Fawcett Brooks in 2013’s G.B.F.


Charlene, Princess of Monaco

princess charlene

Though born in Zimbabwe, Princess Charlene and her family relocated to South Africa in 1989. Before becoming the wife of Prince Albert II of Monaco, she was an Olympic swimmer for South Africa. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Charlene and her team came in fifth in the 4 by 100-meter medley relay. In 2007, she officially retired from swimming.

The former swimmer met Prince Albert at a swimming competition in Monaco in 2000. The couple got engaged in 2010, married in 2011 and had their first children (twins) in 2014.


Elon Musk

Elon Musk

This engineer, visionary, inventor and business mogul from South Africa has gained celebrity status since co-founding Tesla Inc. He is also the co-founder of SolarCity, C.E.O of SpaceX, C.T.O of SpaceX and founder of X.com. Elon Musk is currently among the top 100 wealthiest people with his estimated net worth at US$11.5 billion. He has also recently gained a place on Forbes annual list of The World’s Most Powerful People.

Zakes Mokae

Zakes mokae

Zakes Mokae is a late South African-born actor who gained prominence from the mid-60ss to the late-90s in Hollywood for his roles in Darling, The Comedian, Cry Freedom, The Island, A Dry White Season, Dad, The West Wing, Knight Rider, Gross Anatomy and Vampire in Brooklyn.

He died from complications of a stroke in Las Vegas on the 11th of September, 2009.


Kandyse Mcclure


This prolific actress is quite a fixture in Hollywood’s sci-fi and fantasy scene for a long time now. Durban-born Kandyse is known for her roles in Battlestar Galactica and Hemlock Grove.

However, the actress has also been in Haven, Dark Angel, The Client List, Reaper, Sanctuary, Smallville, Careful What You Wish For, Seventh Son, Andromeda and the Twilight Zone.


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