Author:Versi, Anver

Welcome to our annual listing of the 100 most influential Africans of 2017. This has been a firm favourite of our readers since we first started publishing the listing in 2012 and we are confident you will find this year's selection just as intriguing, thought-provoking and inspiring.

There are eight categories: politics and public service; business and finance; civil society and activism; education; science, technology and innovation; media; arts and culture; and sport.

Inevitably, there are some overlaps --real life rarely follows strictly defined occupational borders but by and large, we believe we have got it right.

As to who is "influential" and who is not, it depends very much on one's point of view and how one defines "influential". It is a word that hardly ever fails to arouse debate whenever similar lists are published and no doubt our list will bring out the cudgels among our readers. We will be delighted to hear your views.

Our own criteria for "influential" is a fairly simple one--it is applied to people whose work or activity has had some sort of transformative effect outside their main calling.

In many cases, as the following profiles reveal, this effect results in a change of perception or provides inspiration to others. Many in our selection have shattered the proverbial glass-ceilings and done so with great bravery, determination and personal sacrifice.

Others are shining examples to others of what can be achieved, no matter the odds stacked against you--both in...

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