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Filed under : Africa, Entertainment, Lifestyle

There are so many inspirational men in this world and no list can ever exhaust them! We decided to pick a handful of varied and inspirational men who are not only successful in their careers, but are shining examples of people who use their success to benefit, bless and bring hope to disadvantaged communities worldwide.


Strive Masiyiwa, born in Zimbabwe, is the Founder of Econet Wireless Ltd. He is also Zimbabwe’s first Billionaire and one of Africa’s richest Business men.

Mr. Masiyiwa’s highly-attuned business acumen and accomplishments are admirable for any budding entrepreneur.  It is important to use your success to give back to the community around you and Econet has a solid track record when it comes to Social Corporate Responsibility, for example, Mr. Masiyiwa sits on the Board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which aims to increase resources for African smallholder farmers. Econet also founded the Capernaum Trust, which provides support to orphaned children in economically disadvantaged situations.

Furthermore, Mr. Masiyiwa has  consistently broken barriers, for example, by fighting a 5-year constitutional legal battle in Zimbabwe, which led to the end of the monopolisation of the telecommunications industry in the nation.

Young African entrepreneurs take note! Mr. Masiyiwa is one of the examples of African businessmen who are breaking the tired stereotype that one cannot be a Christian and own a successful business. He always speaks openly about how his faith and love for God, have enabled his success. Mr. Masiyiwa never takes personal credit for his/Econet Wireless Ltd’s achievements and this can be summed up in one of his most memorable statements: “my mission is to give glory to God”.

To listen to his testimony, click here.



41-year old Lance Armstrong is one of the world’s best cyclists. He is an American former professional cyclist who won the Tour de France seven consecutive times after having survived testicular cancer.

Mr. Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 25, but because it was diagnosed very late, it had already spread to the lungs, abdomen and brain. However, he was determined not to give up. He survived his cancer by educating himself about the disease, its treatment options and used fitness to strengthen and heal his body.

During his treatment, Armstrong founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The Foundation looks at the experiences of the cancer community, finds problems and develops solutions to help people in various communities all over the world. Amongst other things, it is involved in creating numerous cancer awareness campaigns, which it rolls out with cancer organisations worldwide. Its website also has countless valuable information on cancer facts, Health & Fitness.

Armstrong is simply inspirational and is a beacon uniting, empowering and inspiring people with cancer worldwide.



54-year old Nigerian-born Aliko Dangote is listed as # 76 on Forbes list of Billionaires as of March 2012. He is often referred to as “Africa’s cement king” as he owns numerous cement plants in Nigeria, Zambia, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa, besides currently building more in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon. His company, Dangote Group, also owns sugar refineries, flour milling and salt processing facilities.

Besides being a successful businessman, he is also a philanthropist at heart. Dangote has given away millions of dollars to help causes in Education, Health and other social causes, including giving gifts of more than $600 to each person displaced by the violence following Nigeria’s elections.

His story is one of hope for budding entrepreneurs. His path started after an uncle gave him a business loan when he was younger. This is one of those stories that makes you see that if you use opportunities wisely, work hard, never give up and use your success to bless others,you can achieve anything.



Nicholas Vujicic is a 29-year old, Australian preacher and motivational speaker. He suffers from Tetra-amelia syndrome, thus he was born without all of his four limbs.

His story is extremely inspirational because even though as a child, he struggled to come to terms with his disability –  at the age of 17, he eventually did ,and founded his own non-profit organisation – Life Without Limbs. Vujicic graduated with a Double major in Accounting and Financial Planning from Griffith University, Melbourne when he was 21. He then pursued his dream of encouraging people and has become a successful motivational speaker, bringing God’s message and showing people how to find hope and meaning in life.

The hope that Vujicic brings to those people who suffer challenges is summed up in his words, ““I found the purpose of my existence, and also the purpose of my circumstance. There’s a purpose for why you’re in the fire.”



American-born Denzel Washington is not only well-known for his acting accomplishments, which include  numerous Academy, Tony and Golden Globe Awards, but also for the huge amount of time he spends giving back to the world through his charity work.

His inspirational  charity work includes being a Lifetime Founder Member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, which provides  a brighter future for some of South Africa’s poorest youth. In 2011, he donated US $1million to his former school, Wiley College, to re-establish its debating team. He is also  an Honorary Chairperson for Save Africa’s Children and has supported charities such as Project Angel Food (delivers free, nutritious meals to people suffering from serious illnesses) and Farm Sanctuary (combats the abuses of factory farming and encourages a new awareness and understanding about “farm animals”).

Washington brings meaning to the quote, “the value of a man resides in what he gives…” (Albert Einstein).



60-year old American Actor and Comedian, is inspirational in many ways. He has used his Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to bring laughter and joy to millions of people on and off screen. His awards as an Actor include several Emmy, Golden Globes, Grammy and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it,” Williams has said. Off screen, Williams practises the fundamentals he shows in his film, ‘Patch Adams’ and brings laughter to the disadvantaged by helping a variety of causes – from visiting children’s wards in hospitals, helping with Comic Relief fundraising initiatives to entertaining American troops in war zones.

He has also founded his own Windfall Foundation, a philanthropic organisation to raise money for many different charities such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). In addition, he supports Lance Armstrong’s Foundation, by performing at various events to benefit it.



American-born, 42-year old Tyler Perry is  actor, director, screen and playwright, producer, author and songwriter. In 2011, Forbes named him the highest paid man in entertainment, earning $130 million between May 2010 and 2011.

Besides his success on-screen, Perry is known for his openness in expressing firstly how his faith and love of God has made him who he is today. He consistently uses his success to bless the lives of many. His acts of selflessness have included giving jobs to many people who would otherwise not have been able to get into the Arts Industry and giving a $1 million donation (the largest ever given by an artist!) to the civil rights organisation. Perry also treated a group of young black and Latino youth with a surprise trip to Walt Disney World when they were discriminated against at a Philadelphia swimming pool in 2009.

Not surprisingly, in 2010, Perry was awarded the Chairman’s Award at the NAACP Image Awards for distinguised public service. This award is not given lightly, with previous winners being people such as President Obama and the late Wangari Maathai.



50-year old Patrice Motsepe is South Africa’s only Black Billionaire with wealth estimated to be around USD $3.28 billion in the 2011 Sunday Times Annual Rich List.  His company, African Rainbow Minerals owns interests in gold, ferrous metals, base metals and platinum.

What makes Motsepe inspirational is that he has a very humble public persona and has openly stated that one of his main objectives is to give back to the communities around him, particularly those from whose land he makes money due to his company’s mining activities. In late 2011, for example, he gave away R23 million (USD $3 million) to various organisations in South Africa.

…It just goes to show that when one is given success, the main thing is not about the material benefits. These men are showing us that the main thing is humble acknowledgement of how they got to where they are and that true satisfaction comes from passing on their blessings as light and hope for others around them. Here at Faraitoday…we salute you!

Teurai Chanakira is the Founder of the Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust, Zimbabwe which raises awareness of cancer amongst the Zimbabwean population; raises awareness of Natural Health & Fitness and fundraises for disadvantaged Zimbabwean cancer sufferers.

Photo: Zimbio / Getty Images; Google Images


Writer, Model, Founder of Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust

Teurai Chanakira – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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  • Rudo Nyangulu

    Powerful stories thank you for sharing. I would only add that Econect actually isint as great a benefit as your story portrays for a few reasons; the are ridiculously expensive so poor people who want to communicate have their pockets bitten by high call charge per minute, they charge you for services they dont have to pay for (VoIP) and they are now the monopolizers of the telecoms industry! Many a young entrepreneur has had their Intellectual Property stolen by Econet or forced to sign a deal where Econet gets a min of 60% – so with one hand Strive gives but with another he pulls the trolley that is taking away from everyone rich or poor.