Global market research firm, YouGov, has released the results of its 2016 “most admired” rankings, which reveals who are the most admired people in the world, and South Africa.

The list of admired people is determined by getting nominations from panelists across 30 countries to determine the top 20 men and top 20 women across the world.

Each listed individual was nominated in at least two countries. The list was then put to a poll in each country, including 10 popular local figures in each region.

The admiration score is the combination of two metrics – the answers to the questions: “who do you truly admire?”, where respondents could make multiple selections, and “who do you MOST admire?”, where they could only pick one.

For the third year in a row, the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, was voted the most admired man in the world. Hollywood actress and humanitarian, Angelina Jolie was ranked as the most admired woman.


Stephen Hawking and Vladimir Putin push Narendra Modi and Pope Francis out of the men’s top ten most admired – while Queen Elizabeth II takes Malala Yousafzai’s place as the world’s second most admired woman after Angelina Jolie,

“In the third installation of YouGov’s massive international study of personality admiration involving over 31,000 interviews, it’s safe to say the global public values humanitarianism over politics,” the group said.

According to the local results, 10 South Africans were also nominated for a local vote.

Trevor Noah was ranked as the most admired South African man in the country and the second-most admired after Bill Gates, while Public Protector, advocate Thuli Madonsela beat Oprah in the top spot as the most admired woman in the country.


With the exception of Noah, the 10 nominated personalities from South Africa are all big political figureheads – including president Jacob Zuma who is almost on par with Vladimir Putin, as least admired among his peers.

South African-born businessman Elon Musk, and Hollywood star Charlize Theron were also ranked among the top personalities in South Africa.

Neither president Jacob Zuma nor Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille made it into the top 20, however.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *