This year five Africans are featured in the TIME’s world’s 100 most influential list. Actress, Charlize Theron, is there for her philanthropy together with gender activist, Jaha Dukureh, who is from Gambia.
Also from Africa is Eriterean, Mussie Zerai, known for highlighting the plight for refugees and Congolese gynaecologist, Dr Denis Mukwege, is also featured on the list.
University of the Witwatersrand’s Professor Lee Berger, famous for the hominid fossil discoveries of Homo naledi and Australopithecus sediba, is also among the TIME’s magazine’s 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Berger is an award-winning palaeoanthropologist‚ researcher‚ explorer and author from the Evolutionary Studies Institute at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
On September 10, 2015, Berger made media headlines around the world for his discovery of a new species of human relative, Homo naledi. Consisting of over 1550 numbered fossil elements, the scientific community called it the single largest fossil hominin find yet made on the continent of Africa.
“Almost everything is unique about Homo naledi. It’s an unexpected mosaic,” said Berger, as he explained the new find to Forbes Woman Africa.
This was not Berger’s first discovery. In 2008, Berger discovered the most complete early hominin fossils found so far‚ which belong to a new species of early human ancestor‚ Australopithecus sediba.
South Africans have featured prominently on the TIME magazine’s list over the years since it began in 1998, among them Nelson Mandela, Thuli Madonsela and technology entrepreneur, Elon Musk.