Dr Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

No list about powerful black woman can be complete without the inclusion of the award-winning Nigerian author.

Recognised as one of the most influential writers of our time, as well as one of the most prominent and vocal activists in the fight for female equality, Ngozi Adichie was awarded an honourary doctorate from the John Hopkins University in Maryland in the US.

She’s also been celebrated by TIME magazine as one of its Top 100 Most Influential People in the world.

A MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Ngozi Adichie’s work – which includes best-selling titles like Americanah, Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus – has been translated into 30 languages.


Shonda Rhimes (Photo: The Hollywood Reporter, October 2014)
Shonda Rhimes (Photo: The Hollywood Reporter)

Shonda Rhimes

 The creative brains behind hit TV shows including The Fixer, Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder, Rhimes is often referred to as one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful woman in television.

She’s never been one to shy away from portraying black women as strong, independent forces to be reckoned with, and this is why we think she keeps winning.

Rhimes has been hailed the world over for championing ‘diversity’ in the TV industry, but in her eyes, there’s nothing groundbreaking about what she’s doing.

“That wasn’t a goal, only because for me, it just seems obvious that [diversity] should be happening anyway. I wouldn’t have been able to make television any other way. It just wouldn’t have occurred to me,” she said in an interview with TV Insider.


Marjorie Ngwenya copyMarjorie Ngwenya

Ngwenya is the first non-British-based person to be appointed President-Elect of the UK’s Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).

She’s currently the Chief Risk Officer for Old Mutual’s African Business unit and is set to take up her position as IFoA President-Elect this month and to take on the role of president this time next year.

She was previously a director at Marzars in London, the editor of The Actuary magazine for three years, and locally, she has served as a trustee of the SA Legal Resources Trust.