TOP 10 Celebrities You Didn’t Realize Were From South Africa

Contrary to what we learned at the 2010 World Cup, Shakira is not actually South African. But there are famous people who are. Whether they claim their South African heritage or it was just a place where they were born, South Africa can still call them its own. And as you’ll see, the Rainbow Nation has produced some pretty impressive people. Here are 15 celebrities you didn’t realize were from South Africa.

Okay, so we know that Charlize Theron, Candice Swanepoel and now Trevor Noah are our greatest local exports doing SA proud but there are some other South African celebs who you may not have known are South African:

J.R.R. Tolkien

Yup! While the author of The Lord Of The Ringstrilogy typically identifies as a British author, the successful creator of fictional languages  is actually South African.

Tolkien is a local boytjie born in Bloemfontein. His papa was a farmer and spent the first three years of his life on local soil before moving to England where his father died shortly after of rheumatic fever. Tolkien’s father’s grave is in Bloemfontein and he also claims that SA itself influenced his writing.

Could our 11 official languages have contributed to stimulating the creative juices for the creation of the Elvish language? We think so!

Dave Matthews

The lead singer and namesake of the Dave Matthews band is another local.  Matthews was born in Johannesburg, moved between New York and England between the ages of 2  and 10 but moved back to his native hometown where he attended primary and high school.

After matriculating, Matthews (then 18) he was recruited into the South African military but left the country to avoid service by moving back to the States as he was against Apartheid and “didn’t want to serve a racist country”.

Arnold Vosloo

Remember the movie, The Mummy? While all eyes were glued on Brendan Fraser (and his charming good looks), the actual mummy went by unnoticed. That unnoticed mummy? That’s Arnold Vosloo, another South African native whose career took off after his role in the movie. You may remember him in: The Mummy 2, Blood Diamond, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.

Arnold grew up in Johannesburg and studied acting at Pretoria Techikon before making his way to Hollywood.

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