On 10/12/2011, Forbes Magazine published a list of The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa which included actors, authors, musicians, movie producers, supermodels, TV personalities and athletes, drawn from all across Africa.
On this list Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe ranked No. 1. Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi was listed alongside young up comers like famed Kenyan crooner Eric Wainaina, Ivorian soccer sensation Didier Drogba and Nigerian screen goddess Genevieve Nnaji.
However, who exactly is a celebrity? How does a person acquire celebrity status? According to one of the urban dictionaries, a celebrity, also referred to as a celeb, is a person with a prominent profile, who also commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media.
The word “celebrity” is synonymous with wealth (commonly denoted as a person with fame and fortune), implied with great popular appeal, prominence in a particular field, and is easily recognised by the public.
Various careers within the fields of sports and entertainment are commonly associated with celebrity status. These fields have produced prominent figures. Many professional athletes have rose to fame, most popularly, the likes of golfer Tiger Woods, former boxer Muhammad Ali and basketball sensation Michael Jordan.
Prominent entertainment figures who have also reached celebrity status are Super models and lingerie giants Victoria’s Secret angels Sofia Vergara, Gisele Bündchen, and Adriana Lima. Critically acclaimed book authors J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter fame and Stephanie Meyer of the Twilight sensation, pop singers Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber plus rappers Eminem and Jay-Z are all very celebrated people.
While people may gain celebrity status because of a successful career in a particular field primarily in the areas pertaining to sports and entertainment, in other cases, people become celebrities due to media attention for their extravagant lifestyle or wealth. Such is the case of socialites Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. To be honest, these two are more infamous than they are famous if their raunchy sex tape leak scandals are anything to go by! The same goes for well-known criminal Ronnie Biggs.
Having known the definition of a celebrity and given the examples, the question is where are our Rwandan celebrities?