With substantial recognition in their home countries, these successful men and women who have carved niches for themselves in their respective fields have been able to garner attention for themselves beyond the shores of Nigeria. They might be underrated a bit in Nigeria but their worth is recognized beyond the shores of this country.
Meet the 7 notable Nigerians appreciated and respected abroad than at home.
Nobel laureate winner Wole Soyinka is no doubt a literary icon in any part of the world. Born Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka in 1934, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature back in 1986 becoming the first African to be so honoured. Asides being a successful playwright and poet, he took an active role in Nigeria’s political history and the struggle for independence. He is a strong critic of the government on policies and actions believed not to be in the good of the general public. Some of his writings are directed towards criticism of government’s actions and inactions. He has taught in top notch universities abroad like Oxford, Harvard and Yale as well as Cornwell University and Emory University both in Atlanta.
Nneka Lucia Egbuna is a German-Nigerian singer, songwriter and actress who sings in both Igbo and English. From Warri Nigeria, she is a popular name beyond the shores of Nigeria as she had her open act performing with dancehall reggae star Sean Paul back in 2004 at hamburg Stadtpark. Her first album “Victim of Truth” which was released in 2005 was released in Germany, England, France, Netherlands, Japan as well as Nigeria which brought her instant positive raves. Taking a look into Nigeria’s problems, she released her second album in 2008 titled ‘No Longer at Ease” which is taken from the novel of the same name of literary legend Chinua Achebe. In 2009, the lead single from the album ‘Heartbeat” entered the UK Singles Chart at number twenty while it became her first song to break into the German Top 50. She won the Best African Act at the 2009 MOBO while in 2010 won the reggae category of the Museke Online Africa Music Award 2010 with her hit song, “Africans”. Her track “Kangpe” is also featured as a soundtrack on the EA Sports FIFA 2010 video game.
Born in Akure on 23 August 1954, Philip Emeagwali is an engineer, mathematician, computer scientist and geologist. He has been referred to as the “Bill Gates of Africa” as in 1989, emulating the bees’ honeycomb construction, he used 65,000 processors to invent the world’s fastest computer which performs computation at 3.1 billion calculations per second. He was one of the two winners of the 1989 Gordon bell Prize, which is the Nobel Prize for Computing.. In a survey by New African magazine, he was voted the “35th-greatest African (and greatest African scientist) of all time.” Furthermore, former president of the United States, Bill Clinton in a speech said that Philip Emeagwali is an example of what Nigerians could achieve when given an opportunity. His computers are currently being used to forecast the weather and to predict the likelihood and effects of future global warming.
Born in the city of Ibadan, Helen Folasade Adu is a British Nigerian songrwriter, composer and record producer. Her first claim to fame was back in 1980 as the frontwoman and lead vocalist for the band Sade. The group won a Grammy in 1986 for Best New Artist. In recognition for her services to music, Prince Charles bestowed upon her the Officer of the Order of the British Empire. She has also been nominated six times for the Brit Awards under the Best British Female category. Her albums usually top the charts in many countries and in 2010, The Sunday Times named her the most successful solo British female artist in history.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
A prolific Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie was born on September 15, 1977 in Enugu. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and half before leaving Nigeria for the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University. She is popular for great books like “Purple Hibiscus,” “Half of a Yellow Sun” and “The Thing Around Your Neck” and “Americannah.” Her first novel Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book in 2005 while in 2007 “Half of a Yellow Sun” picked up the Orange Prize for Fiction. In 2010 she was among the authors listed by The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” Fiction Issue and 2014 saw her being named as one of the the 39 writers aged under 40 in the Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club Project. She has many other awards to her name for her short stories and other works.
Regarded as one of the pacesetters of modern hip hop music in Nigeria, Sound Sultan has been in the music industry for close to two decades now. His courtship with showbiz started back in the 90s and he was emcee at the talent shows that discovered music twin sensations Peter and Paul of P Square. His first song, Jagbajantis which was released in 2000is a classic Nigerian hit song. In 2012, Sound sultan was made a UN ambassador for peace because of his exemplary lifestyle and career. In 2014, the Queen of England invited the veteran singer to dine with her alongside other UN youth ambassadors.
Born Bukola Elemide in Paris, France, Asa is a Nigerian French singer-songwriter. Her stage name “Asa” means Hawk in the Yoruba language. She came to limelight with her first single “Eyé Adaba,” and she proved she was not just another flash in the pan with “Jailer.” The lead single “Be My Man” from her second album, “Beautiful Imperfection” was released in October 2010 and was a smashing success. She released her third album in 2014 titled “Bed of Stone’ Her first album “Asa” won her the prestigious French Constantin Award in 2008, where she was voted best fresh talent of 10 singers or groups by a jury of 19 music-industry specialists in Paris while in 2011 she was nominated under the Female Artiste of the Year category at the French Music Awards .