50 Flippen Brilliant South Africans


“Hits exactly the right note: entertaining and informative even if you don’t agree with every choice… The bonus of this compilation is that even with famous characters you’ll learn something new.”


– Business Day


“If you think you can guess who’s in this book, you’ve got a lot to learn. Out-of-the-box thinking has gone into the selection of these sometimes-controversial candidates – and a dizzying amount of research. Shows South Africa in different lights.”


– Nancy Richards, SAFM

Authors: Alexander Parker & Tim Richman 

Illustrator: Zapiro

Genre: South African non-fiction

RRP: R250

ISBN/EAN: 9780987043719


RELEASE DATE: November 2012 – updated in 2015


What does it take to be a flippen brilliant South African? Simple: sheer brilliance and a good story. So, whether naughty or noble, crazy or controversial, here are 50 of the most talented, successful, inspirational, intriguing, fascinating Saffers to have walked the planet…

Of course, there are the great statesmen (Mandela, Luthuli, Smuts), the landmark achievers (Charlize Theron, Chris Barnard) and the incredible talents (Miriam Makeba, Irma Stern), but the lesser-knowns will also make a case: such as Ntshingwayo Khoza, the conqueror at Isandlwana; Ampie Roux, the atom-bomb creator; Ryan Sandes, the world’s best trail runner… As will the honorary inclusions (Churchill, Rodriguez, Gandhi) and the previously scorned (Mbeki, Shaka). But how exactly does Winnie Madikizela-Mandela qualify? From space adventurers (Mark Shuttleworth) and fighter pilots (Sailor Malan) to entrepreneurs (Elon Musk) and environmentalists (Ian Player), this is a raucous celebration of the country we call home, and the perfect partner to 50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa – proving that you just can’t have the bad without the good…


Zapiro (left) is South Africa’s premier political cartoonist.

Alexander Parker (middle) is a communications specialist, history buff and author of three bestselling South African titles.

Tim Richman (right) is an author and the publisher at Burnet Media.