Entertainment has become one of the best preservers of man’s mental health in recent times. A trending line in Nigeria’s pidgin has it that ‘problem no dey finish’, meaning there is no end to life’s challenges. To this end, African entertainers go out of their way to not only brighten the mood of Africans with their arts but also explore all channels to contribute their own quota to lessening their numerous financial and material needs. Among these entertainers are musicians, actors/actresses, footballers and the likes who see humanitarianism as the bedrock of their growth and the way forward to making Africa a worthy continent for all.
After some observations, Biografrica in this article, acknowledges 10 out of the many African icons in the African entertainment industry who give back handsomely to the continent, in no particular order.
1. Sadio Mané (Senegal):
The award-winning Senegalese footballer who plays as a forward for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and the Senegal national team, is not only a prodigy in the football world but an award winning philanthropist through whom his country Senegal has been blessed immensely.
In October, 2022, Sadio Mane became the very first winner of the Socrates Award in recognition of his charity work in his native Senegal. In the spring of 2019, as Liverpool were in the final stages of their successful Champions League campaign, Mané made a £250,000 donation to fund a school in Bambali. In 2020, he also donated £500,000 for a hospital to be built in his home village of Bambali. The hospital, which includes a maternity care department, was inaugurated by the footballer in June 2021. It could be recalled that Mané’s father died when he was a child, and therefore, the lack of health services in his home region has become a big cause in the footballer’s life.
“I remember my sister was also born at home because there is no hospital in our village. It was a really, really sad situation for everyone. I wanted to build one to give people hope,” Mane said in 2020.
Also at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Sadio Mané gave £41,000 to the national committee fighting Covid in Senegal.
Mane has at some points been reportedly mocked for making use of a lower class mobile handset and when asked about it, he stressed that the needs of his people are way more pressing than his need for a sophisticated phone. The list of his philanthropy goes on and on.
2. Michael Blackson (Ghana):
Michael Blackson is one African comedian who deserves to have philanthropy as his second name. Blackson; an actor, philanthropist,and comedian, was born to a Ghanaian father and mother but grew up in the United States. He began pursuing comedy after his coworker suggested that he starts open mic, and since then, it has been tales of heroism and more.
His most recent humanitarian deed is the commissioning of an ultramodern school complex in his hometown, Agona Nasaba, on January 3, 2023. The project which he carried out through his foundation, The Michael Blackson Foundation aims at making quality education accessible to all children, regardless of socioeconomic background. “In poverty-stricken areas, many children do not have the opportunity to receive a quality education, which can profoundly impact their future. The foundation provides scholarships to children in need, helping them receive quality education and have the opportunity to succeed in life.” Blackson said during an interview at the school.
3. Davido (Nigeria):
When Davido requested that his friends and colleagues send him money to celebrate his birthday in November, 2021, he left many wondering why the ‘Omo Baba Olowo’ would need any support to celebrate his birthday when he could just afford that at the snap of his fingers.
Well, he actually needed the support and he was lucky enough to get it even beyond his expectations. Before long 200 million naira landed in his account and to finally celebrate his big day, Davido announced that the whole money plus extra 50 million naira from his pocket will be going to orphanages in Nigeria. To him, that was the perfect birthday celebration he desired to have.
“I have always been passionate about giving back and helping people. In view of this, I am delighted to announce that all the funds received will be donated to orphanages across Nigeria as well as the Paroche Foundation”
Davido also received huge praise after donating circa $5,000 to a Rwandan music school to promote good music in the country.
Again, the news of Davido gifting one of his female fans his shoe and 2 million at a concert in Lagos, Nigeria in July, 2022, has remained indelible in the minds of Africans.
Davido, through his DWM music family and the “We Rise By Lifting Others” mantra, has continued to contribute to the success of a lot of young and upcoming artists in Africa.
The list goes on and on, with most of his fans calling for a title of ‘the best celebrity philanthropist in Africa’ to be bestowed on him.
4. Noel Ngiama Werrason (DR Congo):
Born on December 25, 1965 in Moliambo-Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ngiama Werrason is a music producer, author, singer and promoter who has several collaborations with internationally recognised artistes from Africa, Europe, America and more.
Werrason is that music mogul that has donated a lot of money from his musical production to charitable foundations. In early 2000, Werrason was elevated to the rank of Universal Ambassador for Peace because of his involvement in child education, fighting social inequality, calling for demobilisation of child soldiers, assisting widows and victims of war in Eastern DR Congo. His foundation, the Werrason Foundation is a medium of action that has listened to and reached people in need and has blessed hundreds of people with material and financial assistance from around the world.
5. Don Jazzy (Nigeria):
‘Making people happy gives me joy’…Don Jazzy.
Nigerian record producer and CEO of Mavins records, Michael Collins Ajereh popularly known as Don Jazzy is one Nigerian celebrity entertainer known for his philanthropic gestures of helping out his fans, supporting small businesses, and building young talents with his brand.
Don Jazzy won the hearts of thousands of Nigerians after he made a huge donation to Funmi Lawal, a 2011 UNILAG law graduate who was diagnosed with malignant sacorma, a kind of cancer at the shoulder region. Funmi was in need of N4 million for surgery but Jazzy alone took 2 million naira off her shoulders.
Asides from the fact that Don Jazzy has over time given out thousands of Naira to random Nigerians on his social media pages, the Mavin records boss in November 2021, made the donation of 1.5 million Naira to Nigerian youths following an appeal by the Founder of Code Hub Africa, Chizom Echehieuka that he (Jazzy) should sponsor 100 youths for the programme at N15, 000 per person.
Again as an ambassador for some cash apps in Nigeria, Don Jazzy had used the apps to disburse cash gifts of over 10 million Naira to support fans who requested money to boost their business, pay for tuition, and attend to other needs.
Don Jazzy was one of the highest donors to the birthday purse that amounted to $500,000, which Davido eventually shared across orphanages in Nigeria. He is known for not publicising most of his charity engagements.
6. Rahama Sadau (Nigeria):
Rahama Sadau is one of those almost silent movie makers who knows their onions so well in movie production. Born on December 7, 1993 in Kaduna state, Sadau rose to fame in late 2013 after joining the Kannywood movie industry with her first movie Gani ga Wane.
The African beauty did something very huge for humanity when she announced in February, 2022, that she would be dedicating all the proceeds from her movie, “Nadeeya”, to her foundation, the Ray of Hope Foundation, to provide regular aids to IDP camps in Northern Nigeria, orphanages, catering to almajiris, physically challenged people and poverty reduction.
Through her Ray of Hope Foundation, she has rendered huge humanitarian assistance to hundreds of less-privileged persons in Nigeria and beyond.
7. Lerato Kganyago (South Africa):
South African actress, model and media personality, Lerato Kganyago, also known as the Queen of Soweto (Miss Soweto 2002) has consistently spoken out against period poverty on her social media platforms and in interviews. To Lerato, it is not about donating millions of dollars each minute but donating the one you can afford wholeheartedly.
The issue of girls being unable to afford sanitary products moved Kganyago to establish her own line of sanitary pads in April 2020 called “Flutter” by LKG”.
The project is funded by Kganyago herself and she took to Twitter to announce that the first batch of pads exclusively for young women and girls in rural areas were shared free of charge.
8. Alexandra Shungudzo Govere (Zimbabwe):
Better known as Shungudzo, this 32 years old Zimbean-American singer and reality television personality first attracted media attention by being the first black female gymnast to represent Zimbabwe in artistic gymnastics at the 1999 All-Africa Games and later by co-founding the Kijana Project, which provides relief for AIDS orphans.
In 1997, through her Kijani Project, Govere began collecting clothing for orphans who lost their parents to AIDS. By 2002, the Kijana Project, as it came to be called, had expanded to an international organisation run by then-15-year-old Govere and her sister Saunsuray, consisting of 50 members who aided orphans in six different countries, raising money for clothing, toys and school supplies, as well as paying for the education of some AIDS orphans.
Govere was spurred to this work after witnessing many of her childhood classmates affected by AIDS, and seeing the rising number of orphans living on the streets of Harare. As far back as 2000, she worked with her sister in collecting money for Red Cross flood relief in Mozambique. For breaking the color barrier in artistic gymnastics, and for her humanitarian work, Govere was designated a Disney-UNESCO Millennium Dreamers Ambassador.
9. Saalim Ismail (South Africa)
Saalim Ismail is an award-winning South African alternative pop singer-songwriter, certified transformational life coach and motivational speaker.
Available data shows Ismail to be very passionate about Africa that he supports charity from the little he has. His massive support to several organisations like Cansa, House of Sassly, South African Society of Hope, the Al-Waagah Institute for the deaf, and Nosh to Josh-an NGO that assists with the development of autistic children and more.
No specific amount of cash has been listed as his contributions but his name ranks high among the donors of these foundations.
10. Tonto Dikeh (Nigeria):
Tonto Dikeh’s deep desire to alleviate the sufferings of the poor, displaced women, girls, youths, and children in Africa irrespective of their political, religious and cultural differences, led to the establishment of the Tonto Dikeh Foundation in the year 2000. The Foundation; non-profit, helps abused women, unintended pregnancies as a result of molestation/rape, and children without mothers all over the world.
In May 2021, Tonto Dikeh foundation fed 2000 children for two days in Nigeria. On the 19th of December, 2022, the foundation held the “10,000 Smiles For Christmas” project to put smiles on the faces of Africans in Nigeria. This and programmes like: skills empowerment workshops for women and girls, medical outreaches in different places in Nigeria, amongst others point to Tonto Dikeh’s large heart in giving back to the society