List of African educators, scientists and scholars

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This is a list of African educators, scientists and scholars who were born or active on the African continent.

North Africa[edit]


  • Imhotep fl. (2667–2611 BC), Egyptian polymath
  • Muhammad Abduh (1849–1905), Egyptian jurist, religious scholar and liberal reformer, regarded as the founder of Islamic Modernism.
  • Abū Kāmil Shujā ibn Aslam (c. 850 – c. 930)
  • Sameera Moussa (1917–1952), Egyptian nuclear scientist.
  • Al-Jahiz (781–868/869), Afro-Arab scholar of East African descent.
  • Arius (c. 250/256–336), Christian priest from Alexandria, Egypt.
  • Al-Suyuti (c. 1445–1505), Egyptian writer, religious scholar, juristic expert and teacher.
  • Ahmed Zewail (1946–2016), Egyptian-American scientist, awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
  • Mahmud Ahmad Hamdi al-Falaki (1815–1885), Egyptian cartographer, teacher, Minister of Public Instruction.
  • Ismail Mustafa al-Falaki (1825–1901), Egyptian astronomer and mathematician.


  • Saint Cyprian (c. 210–September 14, 258), bishop of Carthage and early Christian writer.


  • Aziza Baccouche (1976–), American physicist and filmmaker born and raised in Tunisia




  • Rachid Yazami (1953–), French Moroccan scientist best known for his research on lithium ion batteries.


East Africa[edit]




  • Haile Debas (1937–), Eritrean who achieved national recognition as a gastrointestinal investigator and made original contributions to the physiology, biochemistry, and pathophysiology of gastrointestinal peptide hormones.



West Africa[edit]




  • Mohammed Bagayogo (1523–1593), eminent scholar from Timbuktu, Mali.
  • Modibo Mohammed Al Kaburi, scholar, Cadi and Jurist, and university professor, from Timbuktu, Mali.
  • Cheick Modibo Diarra, (1952–), Malian-born aerospace engineer who contributed to several NASA missions such as Mars Path Finder, the Galileo spacecraft, and the Mars Observer.
  • Ahmad Baba (1556–1627), medieval West African writer, scholar, and political provocateur.

Sierra Leonean[edit]



Alexander Anim-Mensah, Ghanaian-American chemical engineer, inventor, and author. He is known for the contributions towards the field of membrane Science and technology.


  • Cheikh Anta Diop (1923–1986), Senegalese historian, anthropologist, physicist and politician.

Southern Africa[edit]

South African[edit]

  • Christiaan Barnard (1922–2001), South African cardiac surgeon, who performed the world's first successful human-to-human heart transplant.
  • Sydney Brenner (1927–2019), South African biologist, who won the 2002 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • Allan McLeod Cormack (1924–1998), South African-born American physicist, who won the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • Mulalo Doyoyo (born 1970), South African professor, engineer and inventor.
  • Trefor Jenkins (born 1932), human geneticist from South Africa, noted for his work on DNA.
  • Aaron Klug (1926–2018), Lithuanian-born British chemist and biophysicist, who won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He moved to South Africa at the age of two and studied at the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town.
  • Tshilidzi Marwala (born 1971), South African scientist and inventor.
  • Thebe Medupe (born 1973), South African astrophysicist and founding director of Astronomy Africa.
  • Azwinndini Muronga, professor of physics and dean of science.
  • Himla Soodyall (born 1963), South African human geneticist, known for genetic research into the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Andries Van Aarde (born 1951), professor of theology at University of Pretoria.


  • Felix A. Chami, archaeologist and university professor from Tanzania.
  • Erasto B. Mpemba (born 1950), Tanzanian scientist and physicist who discovered the eponymous Mpemba effect, a paradoxical phenomenon in which hot water freezes faster than cold water under certain conditions.

African Diaspora[edit]

List of African-American inventors and scientists


  1. ^ "This Congolese Doctor Discovered Ebola But Never Got Credit For It — Until Now". Retrieved 2019-11-05.
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