Famous Zimbabwean Celebrities in South Africa: Top 20 List (with Images)

Famous Zimbabwean Celebrities in South Africa: Top 20 List (with Images)

Monday, October 23, 2023, at 10:24 AM by Alice Wabwile – 6 min read

South Africa boasts thriving entertainment and economic industries, making it a prime destination for emerging and established talents. Among those drawn to its opportunities are numerous celebrities with Zimbabwean roots. This article highlights the top 20 Zimbabwean celebrities who have made significant strides in South Africa.

Famous Zimbabwean celebrities in South Africa.
Photo: @mobilepunch/@kingmdevah on X, Oupa Bopape on Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: UGC

South Africa, fondly known as Mzansi, is home to hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean emigrants seeking better lives. However, this growing population has also contributed to rising cases of xenophobia. Despite these challenges, many Zimbabwean celebrities have flourished in South Africa, spanning various fields including music, acting, and business. Here are the top 20 Zimbabwean celebrities making waves in Mzansi:

1. Nadia Nakai

Rapper Nadia Nakai.
Photo: Oupa Bopape – Source: Getty Images

Nadia Nakai, a prominent rapper and TV personality, was born to a Zimbabwean mother and a South African father. She grew up in Johannesburg and attended high school in Kenya. In July 2022, she celebrated a milestone by purchasing a home in Johannesburg’s leafy suburbs.

2. Kim Jayde

Model Kim Jayde.
Photo: Oupa Bopape – Source: Getty Images

Kim Jayde, a renowned model, was born in Harare and raised in Bulawayo. She moved to South Africa at 19 to complete her education and launch her modeling career.

3. Sha Sha

Singer-songwriter Sha Sha.
Photo: @kingmdevah on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Sha Sha, born Charmaine Shamiso Mapimbiro in Mutare, made her singing debut at 17. Discovered by producer Audius Mtawarira, she moved to South Africa to work with top amapiano producers.

4. DJ Oskido

Singer and producer Oskido.
Photo: Oupa Bopape – Source: Getty Images

Oscar Sibonginkosi Mdlongwa, known as Oskido, is a legendary musician and producer. Born in South Africa’s North West Province to a Zimbabwean politician father and a South African mother, he grew up in Bulawayo before returning to South Africa to pursue music in the early 1990s.

5. Chiedza Mhende

Actress Chiedza Mhende.
Photo: @am_blujay, @blueitserver on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Chiedza Mhende, born Charlene Chiedza Kudzai Mhende in Harare, moved to Cape Town in 2006 for further education. She gained fame for her role as Wandile Radebe in the Generations drama series.

6. Leroy Gopal

Actor and comedian Leroy Gopal.
Photo: @am_blujay, @paperbagafrica on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Leroy Gopal, a Harare-born actor and comedian, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Live Performance and Motion Picture from AFDA. He has been married to South African actress Keletso Moletso since 2017.

7. Tendai Mtawarira

Retired rugby union player Tendai Mtawarira.
Photo: Emma McIntyre – Source: Getty Images

Known as The Beast, Tendai Mtawarira is a retired rugby union player born in Harare. He began playing for South Africa in 2006 and later acquired Mzansi citizenship.

8. Peter Ndoro

Media personality Peter Ndoro.
Photo: @peterndoro on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Peter Ndoro, a prominent media personality, was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in the UK before his family returned to Harare. He has worked with several media outlets, including CNBC Africa, SABC, BBC, and M-Net.

9. Jerome Galiao

Actor Jerome Galiao.
Photo: @10thingsza, @mobilepunch on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Jerome Galiao, born in Harare, is best known for his role as Dr. Nyasha Mugari in the Scandal drama series. He has also appeared in Gomora, The Queen, and Isithembiso.

10. Luthuli Dlamini

Actor Luthuli Dlamini.
Photo: @constitution_94, @ontelle_ on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Luthuli Dlamini, born in Bulawayo, grew up in England before moving to South Africa to pursue acting. He gained fame for his role in Scandal as Stan Nyathi.

11. Bujy Bikwa

Producer and presenter Bujy Bikwa.
Photo: Oupa Bopape – Source: Getty Images

Sthembinkosi Junior Bikwa, known as Bujy Bikwa, was born in Zimbabwe. He moved to South Africa in 1992 and grew up in Orange Farm before relocating to Johannesburg to pursue a career in entertainment.

12. Tongayi Arnold Chirisa

Actor and singer Tongayi Chirisa.
Photo: Theo Wargo – Source: Getty Images

Tongayi Chirisa, born in Harare, moved to South Africa in 2006 to study acting. He has starred in notable films and TV shows, including Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

13. Mr Brown

Singer-songwriter and producer Mr Brown.
Photo: @capricornfm, @mdnnewss on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Mr Brown, born Lynol Siwela in Gweru, moved to South Africa to pursue music. He has collaborated with several SA stars, including Sho Madjozi and Master KG.

14. Ernest Ndlovu

Actor Ernest Ndlovu.
Photo: @joy_zelda, @tvblogbymlu on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Veteran actor Ernest Posa Ndlovu, born in Zimbabwe, has decades of experience in the South African acting industry. He is best known for his role in Generations as Vukani Khoza.

15. Gigi Lamayne

Rapper and songwriter Gigi Lamayne.
Photo: Oupa Bopape – Source: Getty Images

Genesis Gabriella Tina Manney, known as Gigi Lamayne, has Zimbabwean roots. Born and raised in South Africa, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wits University and has released hits like Ice Cream.

16. Barry Hilton

Actor and comedian Barry Hilton.
Photo: @skyezeda, @dowwedolla007 on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Comedian and actor Barry Hilton, born in Harare to a French Mauritian mother and an English father, moved to Cape Town at 13 before settling in South Africa permanently in 1990. He holds South African and British citizenship.

17. Trevor Ncube

Editor and publisher Trevor Ncube.
Photo: Gianluigi Guercia – Source: Getty Images

Trevor Ncube, a South African-based Zimbabwean entrepreneur, was born in Bulawayo. He holds a BA (honours) from the University of Zimbabwe and publishes for both South Africa and Zimbabwe.

18. Sifiso Dabengwa

Business executive Sifiso Dabengwa.
Photo: Martin Rhodes – Source: Getty Images

Former MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa was born in Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa in 1994. He has worked with several major corporations, including Eskom.

19. Paul Harris

Retired cricketer Paul Harris.
Photo: Duif du Toit – Source: Getty Images

Paul Harris, a retired cricketer born in Harare, played for South Africa’s national team from 2007 to 2011. He now resides in Pretoria with his family.

20. Pearl ‘Motsi’ Kupe

Lawyer and international consultant Pearl Motsi Kupe.
Photo: @aw_what on X (modified by author) – Source: UGC

Pearl Motsi Kupe, a lawyer and international consultant, was born in Harare. She has held prominent positions, including general manager of communications at Transnet and public prosecutor for the Botswana attorney general.

Zimbabwean Population in South Africa

According to a 2022 report by the Zimbabwe National

Statistics Agency, South Africa is home to 773,246 Zimbabweans, representing 85% of Zimbabwean emigrants. Only 178,000 of these are permit holders. Botswana hosts the second-highest number at 5%, while the UK has the largest number of Zimbabweans outside Africa at 3%.

Reasons for Zimbabwean Emigration

Many Zimbabweans move to South Africa for better employment opportunities and living standards, as well as to escape political and economic instability. South Africa is often preferred over neighboring countries like Botswana and Mozambique due to cultural and linguistic similarities.

Top South African Celebrities

Elon Musk is the richest South African celebrity with a net worth exceeding $200 billion, followed by actress Charlize Theron with an estimated worth of $200 million. Retired cricketer AB de Villiers has the largest Instagram following among South African celebrities, with over 23 million followers as of October 2023.

Zimbabwean celebrities in South Africa continue to excel in their fields, contributing significantly to the country’s diverse talent pool.

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