The New African magazine (August – September 2004) recently published the results of their poll. The choices of the readers who participated in this New African survey are quite incredible. Robert Mugabe, the brutal dictator of Zimbabwe was voted the third greatest African of all time! Winnie Mandela, despite her convictions for kidnapping, child abuse and theft from the poor, was voted the "most popular woman in Africa!"
The editors of the New African observed that although they requested nominations for “the greatest Africans of all time”, over 95% of the nominations were from the post-independent era. They asked the question: “Have people forgotten Africa's history?”
The vast majority of people chosen were political leaders. The editors declared: “The results are disappointing. It shows that African governments and educationists have to review the kind of history and education we are teaching and providing in our schools. Without knowing our past and where we came from, we can hardly know our present and why we are where we are, and plan for our future.”
Amongst some of the surprising nominations for “The Greatest Africans of All Time” were numerous Americans: Malcolm X, Mohammed Ali, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, and Louis Farrakhan. Even Brazilian footballer Pele featured as one of “the greatest Africans of all time”!