Zimbabwe’s Finest: Top 40 Hot, Brainy and Influential Women

Zimbabwe is a beautiful country in Southern Africa, which in the past decade has been through a lot of devastating changes, leaving its people broken and uncertain of what tomorrow would bring. But today it is a country that is fighting for change, working hard to stand tall for the sake of its children. Below are some women who have done Zimbabwe proud, nationally, regionally and internationally. Women who with their beauty, their passion and determination have shown the world that Zimbabwe will rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Like the definition of its name, dzimba- dza-mabwe (houses of stone) — stone by stone they shall retain their full glory. So without further ado, ElleAfrique presents Zimbabwe’s Top 40 Hot, Brainy and Influential Women*!

40.Grace Mugabe – First Lady

39. Rudo Chigudu – Activist

38. Malaika Mushandu – Miss Zimbabwe 2011

37. Lolo – Fashionista and Blogger on Lolo’s Kloset

36. Tinashe Jorgenson Kachingwe – Actress

35. Rumbidzai Dube – Lawyer, Gender Activist

34. Rumbi Katedza – Filmmaker

33.Teurai Chanakira – Model and Founder of the Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust

32. Liseli Madiri – Miss Teen Zimbabwe

31.  Novuyo Rosa Tshuma – Author

30. Dr Rudo Makunike – Pediatric Patholist

29. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda – Gender Activist

28. NoViolet Bulawayo – Author

27. Benu Mabhena – Actress

26. Netsayi Chigwendere – Singer

25. Betty Makoni – Gender activist

24. Eska Mtungwazi – Songwriter and producer

23. Greatmore Chatya – Model

22. Chipo Chung – Actress

21. Chiwoniso Maraire – Singer

20. Gamuchirai Nhengu – Singer

19. Pokello Nare – Socialite and entrepreneur

18. Fungai Machirori – Poet and Founder of HerZimbabwe

17. Cara Black – Tennis Player

16. Stella Chiweshe – Queen of Mbira

15. Divine Ndhlukula – Founder of Securico

14. Shereen Essof – Feminist, Activist and Academic

13. Hope Masike – Traditional Musician (Mbira Player)

12. Dr Tererai Trent – Academic, Motivation Speaker

11. Prudence Mabhena – Singer and Activist

10. Tsitsi Dangarembga – Author and Film Producer

9. Danai Gurira – Actress

8. Makosi Musambasi – Model and TV Presenter

7. Joice Mujuru – Vice President

6. Farai Gundan – Entrepreneur

5. Nyasha Matonhodze – Model

4. Thokozani Khupe – Deputy Prime Minister

3. Thandie Newton – Actress

2. Kirsty Coventry – Olympic Gold Medalist

1. Shingai Shoniwa – The Noisettes lead singer

We have changed the name of the Top 40 Series from Hot, Sexy and Brainy to Hot, Brainy and Influential.


Zimbabwean Woman / 11 June 2013

Was this list compiled by some-one who did a Google search on Zimbabwean women with no further research? Actually this list looks like a remix of a former list which once did the Twitter rounds. Dear folks at Elle Afrique when compiling lists please do further research because there are a number of women missing from that list and some who could be replaced *coughs* Thandie*

matty muzanenhamo / 12 June 2013

To add my 2pence there is currently a true Zimbabwean woman born and bred who sits as a judge in the UK , very intelligent , and very influential in family court, at the UN they are 4 born and bred policy makers, attended top ivy league university who are setting policy at the united nations who will give Dambisa Moyo a run for her money……so please take this nonsense off the internet….. please research your info….on Zim men don’t start me ….as an exit the 4 in command at Google is a black Zimbabwean who attend St Georges college…..nonsenses like this and Zim Achievers should be banned……

Zimbo / 11 June 2013

Most of the ladies listed her are hardly known and influential. I can bet this was only a desktop/laptop research, without any touch with reality. Less than ten of these guys qualify otherwise the rest are little knowns.

kizzzie / 15 June 2013

Geeze guys dont peope have nothing better to do than make such lists that have no bearing on the real women that shoud be on this list. probably ten qualify out of the 40.

thaby / 11 June 2013

Zimbabwe’s Finest: Top 40 Hot, Brainy and Influential Women, r u show ur lists represents dt. jus asking u culd hv done a nationwide search. e.g ZITF is being led by a woman. is Thandie Newton Zimbabwean?

Tara / 11 June 2013

Are you for real??? I think they just looked for women in the news. I cant believe that women like Nyaradzai are on the same list with Makosi. This is an insult to some of the women on the list. Pathetic is what i call this

TatendaRobin / 11 June 2013

Whoever wrote this article dare put Grace Mugabe, Pokello, Tererai Trent, Makosi , Betty Makoni as influential and brainy, get real and stop messing with a country you barely know.. This is the worst.. ever!!

TatendaRobin / 11 June 2013

Where is Zimbabwe Fashion Week director, I mean number 1 is not even based or grew up in Zimbabwe. This is crazy I dunno maybe you want favours from the people you put on the list.. Thandie Newtown

Veronica Mukwashi / 11 June 2013

This list is an insult to the likes of people like Teurai Chanakira, Thokozani Khupe, Fungai Machirori, Joyce Mujuru, Kirsty Coventry. You can’t compare their achievements with the infamous ones of people like Makosi Musambasi. In what way has Makosi influenced Zimbabwean women other than teaching us how not to behave. Next time may you please ask us Zimbabwean women who has influenced us. Oh and another thing, Thandie Newton is not Zimbabwean. I doubt she has ever set foot in this country. So just so you know, this list does not represent the views of ALL the Zimbabwean women I know. I don’t know about those I don’t know.
Thank you.

Grace Mavin / 11 June 2013

Congratulations for putting the list together in the first place @elleafrique… I’m dumbfounded by the comments. Lists often divide popular opinion but some of the comments here are just plain silly… Thandie Newton’s mother is Zimabwean and she herself was born in Zambia to a Zimbabwean mother and Scottish father. # 1 Shingai Shoniwa was born in the UK, and is front person of the band The Noisettes. Her mother is Zimbabwean, her father is Zimbabwean, Shingai refers to herself as Zimbabwean… She has played HIFA and brought her band to the country… She is an ambassador for Mizani (a division of L’oreal) and represents zimbabwe in most things that she does (even more so than some zimbabweans on the ground i might add) so can’t believe someone would even use that as a point? Betty Makoni lives in UK.. Should she be disqualified from this list then? I’m so glad though that we are looking at a table of women from Zimbabwe/of Zimbabwean heritage and having banter… Times are definitely changing x

Ndeye Sene Mbaye / 11 June 2013

well, There is only one way to found out, if you ladies will come up with something better: Do you own list, then let’s compare it to this one. Haven’t you heard: criticize by creating!
One last thing, I think it`s all well to disagree with other people work but you should never dismiss or disrespect their effort. At least, someone is trying to educate us people outside of Southern Africa about the people there.

Angelique Gatsinzi / 11 June 2013

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future; if you want to use Makosi’s behaviour almost a decade ago as a reason not to include her in this list then I guess you need to take a moment to reeducate yourself about what she has been doing since that day. And she is a hot woman, I think pretty much every magazine that did full spreads of her clothed and topless would back this list up nicely.

As for women you claim should not be on this list because they are not born in Zimbabwe or are half Zimbabwean — does being born on British soil or living on British soil make your blood any less Zimbabwean? You are who you say you are, and being born or living Zimbabwe does not automatically make you more special. The diaspora is just as important!

Until we start to appreciate the efforts of everybody, until we start to get off our high horses and feel that only the people we think are worth celebrating should be celebrated then we shall continue to create rifts were they do not belong. Be proud of these women’s achievements, whether they are underground or not. And for those who have not been added to this list, it does not mean they don’t deserve to be heard of, why not create another list yourself and tell us about these women? After all out of the millions of women in Zimbabwe, if you pick 40 someone is bound to be left out … it’s logical!

United we stand; divided we fall.

kizzzie / 15 June 2013

what has Makosi then done since then to be held in the same breath as Kirsty Coventry, mai Mujuru, Fungai Machirori ?

Sharon Nyatanga / 12 June 2013

Perfectly said.there are man6 women who should have been on the list bt the list could only accommodate 40.all these women represent zimbabwe whether they grw up in the country or have a non zimbabwean surname.

Zvakapenga / 12 June 2013

Hope Sadza founded the women’s university in africa, a university that is giving new opportunities to women who were not able to go to university when they were younger. She is not on this list. Nozipo Maraire is a leading neuro-surgeon, the only one in Zimbabwe, and a bestselling writer. She is not on this list. Petina Gappah is an international trade lawyer, a celebrated writer who raised a million dollars Harare’s biggest library. She is not on the list. Rudo Gaidzanwa was one of the first women to land a professorship. She is not on the list. Jessie Majome is a lawyer and a Member of Parliament. She is not on the list.. Theresa Mugadza is a lawyer and deputy chair of the anti-Corruption Commission. She is not on the list. Priscilla Chigariro founded Zimbabwe fashion week, she is not on the list. Virginia Chihota and Portia Zvavahera are Zimbabwe’s first female artists to go to the Venice Biennale, the biggest showcase in art. They are not there. I could go on. But I would be wasting my time because none of these women are as influential as Pokello Nare who is most famous for a sex tape, or Gamu Nhengu who lied to get asylum in the UK, or a random Miss Zimbabwe contestant. This list is a shameful joke. Perhaps it is a good thing that these more serious candidates are not on it.

Dr. Ruth Labode / 12 June 2013

We should not judge, because the list a reflection of the author’s thinking, life, her values and her aspirations.

zimbabwean who lives in zimbabwe / 12 June 2013

this list is very random lacks research, if this ‘journalist’ was to write a short description of what each of these people have actually done to be of good influence, im pretty sure there would be rubbish. really, Pokello and Joyce Mujuru on the same list, im sure the vice president will be offended if she saw this! you said it,Thandie Newton’s mother is Zimbabwean she isn’t and you put her on number three?? next time speak to Zimbabweans before you compile a ridiculous top 40

tk / 12 June 2013

You left out Florence Kazhanje, google that lady and she should be in top 10

Carrie / 12 June 2013

It would have been great to have a bit of info on these ladies. We don’t know why they’re on this list!

J / 12 June 2013

Nobody knows the Noisettes, Danai Gurira in the ghetto…..a few may know Noisettes after hifa, and a few fox channel viewers who enjoy the walking dead may not even know there is a Zimbo but in the ghetto there are so many songs composed about Kirsty…not even number 40 is celebrated….why not do a poll even on facebook? This doesn’t represent influence and brainssp really this is rigged

kiri van ch / 12 June 2013

Whats so influential about shingai shonhiwa when we have women like charity jinya, devine ndukula, lyn mkonoweshuro, yo list is a pure joke.

Farie Virg / 12 June 2013

This is ridiculous! Or maybe, we need a definition of the word “influential” here. Forget about “hot” (btw that metric is near-insult to many!).
If influential is defined by how much trash-news headlines a certain somebody has created then maybe you guys make sense. Your list is full of people who have done nothing but show up in the local “tabloids” in some series of over-sensationalized hype stories most of which have absolute zero influence on the progressive future of Zimbabwe (e.g Pokello). In addition, very few of these listed women are doing anything at all to steer Zimbabwe in the POSITIVE direction within their fields. Very few are educated even fewer are holding up any intellectual or cultural ideals that honest Zimbabweans care for.

There are Zimbabwean women who are being published in world-class and relevant – Science, Health and Business journals out there. Some are making tangible break-throughs in shifting paradigms in the way politics is done (Jessie Majome) and some just do an amazing job of representing us in meaningful organizations like the UN all to the benefit of Zimbabwe’s future (the education system and culture, poverty alleviation etc, investment strategies etc).

I’ll give you credit for bringing up a lot of women in the arts (esp music) but other than that, I suggest you revisit your metrics and define what the heck you mean by “brainy” and influential”.

Runyararo / 12 June 2013

Thandie Newton is not Zimbabwean!!!. Her mother is Zimbabwean – that doesn’t make her Zimbabwean!

madubesbrainpot / 12 June 2013

Thank you for this compilation ElleaFRIQUE. I am honoured to have been recognised although I do think some really influential individuals who also inspire me deserved to be mentioned. To mind comes one female Parliamentarian Hon Jessie Jessie Fungayi Majome, prominent lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Petinnah Gapa and Amy Tsanga, Rudo Gaidzanwa, Colleta Chitsike, Theresa Mugadza, Dr Hesphina Rukato to mention a few..

Micheal / 12 June 2013

If Grace Mugabe is on this list.. then this list is sh*t!

Lisa / 12 June 2013

what criteria was used to select these “brainy” and influential people???? MAKOSI?! of all people! LOL i can’t even take this list seriously anymore , this is just a BIG joke! and since when does owning a shoe shop, having a sex tape and being on Big Brother make you brainy and influential!? next time do some thorough research please, that pole dancing Beverly might as well be on this list too! Some of these singers that you mentioned ive never heard of in my life! But then again, this list is a reflection of the author’s opinion right, we’ll just let it be…

lolo / 13 June 2013

Thank you for recognising my brand Loloskloset. May all the the women on the list and those mentioned in the comments continue to excel in their field so that the world is continuously aware of how amazing Zimbabwean women are.

Sekai / 13 June 2013

Am just wondering what criteria was used to compile this list.The likes of Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda can never ever be put in the same category with Pokello Nare oh please give us a break.This list shows a lot of ignorance to say the least and please respect respectable women like Nyaradzayi she cannot be grouped with thieves ,abusers,and hypocretes.

Angelique Gatsinzi / 13 June 2013

Sounds like your post is actually more ignorant than the list itself — from what I have read about Miss Nare, she is degree-educated and has a successful business in Harare. He who is without sin, caste the first stone. And anyway I bet if she took the Big Brother Africa trophy back to Zimbabwe, people would suddenly change their tune!

Nanxie / 13 June 2013

I agree with sekai..what criteria did you use to come up with that list?? Looks like 50% are artista who are not influential at all. Pokello Nare for instance, what has she done to be in that list. Ohhh give us a break!!!!!! Please remove the likes of Mai Mujuru from that list.

Ida / 13 June 2013

WOW, talk about haphazard!!! I dont even know what this list is meant to depict… It cant be a combination of ‘hot, brainy and influential’, so im guessing the criteria was you can either be hot OR brainy OR influential. Either way though, this list is week. Where are the Dr. Hope Sadzas and Grace Muradzikwas in this list?? Im certain it wasnt compiled by anyone who knows anything about Zimbabwe

Top Lady HARARE / 13 June 2013

Pornello makes it into the top 40…making my own porn movie!

Angelique Gatsinzi / 13 June 2013

hehehe … ah well she is following Kim Kardashian’s foot steps.

Millz / 13 June 2013

Lol, this list needs to be redone, even Grace Muradzikwa who’s has to be in the top 3 isnt there, ana malaika avo wat for?? Let’s be serious!!

phure / 14 June 2013

For goodness sake what happened to some good old investigative journalism, Zimbabwe deserves better than this, we are running the world and if we strike the world goes on its knees. At number 1 there should be a woman who does cross border trade to take her children to school, sucrificing everything

kizzzie / 15 June 2013

The Executive editor and editor are from rwanda so guess they didnt really try to find out about Zimbabwean women before posting this

mai / 15 June 2013

ur criteria doesnt mak sense at al

lesley Leez Muchuweni / 15 June 2013

this list was put with some guy who is in search of favour from the respactable women he/she chose . You found out that there are so many ladies who have histor which had influenced others. This list lacks research from google.

Cho / 18 June 2013

The list is largely purile nonsense with a smattering of substance here and there. Someone in the comments below even dared demand we show respect to the compilers for their effort. I didn’t know that running prosaic Google searches was such an effort! The list reveals no hint of consistent methodology, neither does it show what matrix of influence applies to these women nor where they do the influencing. Its a random, thoughtless clutch of names of women associated with Zimbabwe, with more than a heavy nod given to celebrity, any type of celebrity. The.choice of most influential Zim.woman.betrays this: how in the hell does an essentially British girl whose art (indie rock) is culturally British and who has just performed her first ever gig in the country of her parents’ birth where she.is virtually unknown by the nation’s womenfolk suddenly become the most influential woman out of that nation? Influential to who? Do you see how silly this is? By contrast, Zimbabwe has for the past 5 years been run by a coalition government which came.out of intense cross party negotiations. This coalition has been.so.fragile that the cross party negotiators have had to continue to hammer out agreements on behalf of their principals in order to keep this government.together. Not only that, the team.of negotiators has also been.busy at international diplomatic.level, engaging the EU.and the west in general to try and.bring.Zimbabwe out of its 10 year isolation. And now with make or break elections looming, the negotiators have been hard at work agreeing legal and political reforms to try and ensure that the transition to legitimately elected government is a success. Why do I say all this? To point out your ignorance about women of real.influence in Zimbabwe. For in that very political vortex is one Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, a cabinet minister and key member of the cross party negotiation team.in whose hands an entire nation’s transition to a peaceful future rests. She doesn’t even.make your list – apparently a girl who’s famous for wearing nice clothes and making a sex tape is more.influential in your books!

Three Zimbabweans on list of Africa’s most influential young people | Zimbablog / 28 June 2013

[…] comes shortly after a list of ‘Zimbabwe’s Top 40 Hot Brainy & Influential Women’ published by Elle […]

GeekMommaRants / 2 July 2013

Reblogged this on GeekMommaRants and commented:
Please get to know each other, then we can strengthen ourselves.

free classified ads / 3 September 2017

Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really know what you’re talking about!

Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my web site =).
We may have a hyperlink exchange arrangement between us

Beatrice Khumalo / 14 October 2020

You left out a very influential zim lady. A Dr Mercy Chieza. Investigate and see for yourself. I have attended her programs. Her website says it all. https://www.equipped4excellence.com/about/founder-visionary-bio/


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