The much anticipated “30 Under 30” African edition of Forbes Magazine featuring the latest cohort of young African entrepreneurs building an African business was planned to hit the stands last month in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
Ancillar Mangena, the Forbes Africa journalist who leads the “30 Under 30” project discussed the issue with Antoinette Isama of OkayAfrica.com, who asked her why it’s important to celebrate young ambitious Africans.
“June is South Africa’s Youth Month when we remember the youth of 1976 and their role in democracy,” Mangena said. “One could argue that while the youth of ’76 fought for political freedom, these under 30s are fighting for financial freedom. As we like to call them, they are the billionaires of tomorrow.”
When asked, “Why do you think this list is important to the continent and the diaspora?” Mangena replied, “Many a time we hear of Africa’s struggle, poverty, unemployment, crime and disease, but this list shows how much Africa continues to evolve.
They are not waiting or asking for handouts. These 30 superstars are not waiting for anyone to offer them a job, they are creating the jobs and building global brands. The people featured are in diverse industries from manufacturing, import and export, fashion, beauty, agriculture, tech and many more.”
Unlike last year’s list, she observed, “this year we have more women breaking barriers.”
“I call the under 30s my babies,” Mangena confessed. “That’s how personal the process is. I have spent months studying them, looking into their lives and business. We have been communicating back and forth and I have a lot of faith in their potential.
Like a mother, I will always offer support where I can so that they can one day be on the cover of Forbes Africa magazine — meaning they will be worth more than $200 million. These are the bright shining stars in Africa. You may not know their names now but you will be forced to in a few years.”
In the new class of “Forbes Africa’s” 30 Under 30, ten are from South Africa, four are from Nigeria, and two are from Kenya, with a single representative from Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, to name a few.
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