18 November 2021


In an idle moment last week I set myself a challenge. Could I think of ten famous people dead or alive who hailed from certain different countries? Great Britain was of course no problem at all, nor was the USA.. Canada was slightly harder and so was Australia but I came up with ten for each in the end. The Republic of Ireland was fairly easy - perhaps easier than France:-

  • Charles de Gaulle
  • Edith Piaf
  • George Pompidou
  • Thierry Henry
  • Zinedine Zidane
  • Emile Zola
  • Brigitte Bardot
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir 
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Joan of Arc
And then I got on to the hard ones. I managed only seven for Norway and the same for Sweden. I could not come up with the full ten for Italy, Spain or Germany but I was nearly there. And what about the two most populous nations on Earth? India and China? 

I am ashamed to say that off the top of my head I was unable to give ten names for either of these countries. It was the same with Russia - nearly there but not quite.

So I am passing this challenge on to you dear reader. Without googling or smart phoning or even flicking through encyclopedias, can you think of ten famous people dead or alive from either the continent of South America or the continent of Africa? And if you manage that, try to come up with the names of ten famous Russians or ten famous Chinese people.

If you wish you can put your lists in the comments section. Good luck and happy braintime!


  1. Replies
    1. Okay... Ten famous people from the Isle of Man then?

    2. OK, here goes...
      Archibald Knox
      Fletcher Christian
      Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb
      Mark Cavendish
      T.E. Brown
      Hall Caine
      Samantha Barks (actress)
      JayCee and P

    3. Were JayCee and P a singing group like The Bee Gees?

      P.S. I never knew that Fletcher Christian hailed from The Isle of Man but googling tells me that his family had their roots there. He was probably only twenty nine years old when he died.

  2. South America-Pinochet, Allende

    Africa- Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe, Bishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Haile Selassie (which I had to look up for the spelling)

    1. You forgot Muammar Gadaffi (Libya) and what about Kofi Annan (Ghana)? See! You knew them!

  3. This was a fun challenge!

    I managed SA and Africa and Russia, with a few extras just in case I'm wrong about any of them! But China stumped me.

    South America
    Astrud Gilberto
    Joao Gilberto
    Antonio Carlos Jobim
    Augusto Pinochet
    Simon Bolivar
    Pablo Neruda
    Eva Peron
    Juan Peron
    Oscar Niemeyer
    Sergio Mendes
    Isabel Allende (bonus!)

    Nelson Mandela
    Kenneth Kaunda
    Kwame Nkrumah
    Jerry Rawlings
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Ben Okri
    Chinua Achebe
    Idi Amin
    Alan Paton
    J M Coetzee
    Nadine Gordimer (bonus!)


    Fyodor Dostoevsky
    Anton Chekhov
    Yuri Gagarin
    Leo Tostoy
    Anna Akhmatova
    George Balanchine
    Petr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Leonid Brezhnev
    Igor Stravinsky
    Nikita Khrushchev
    Marc Chagall (bonus!)


    Lao Tzu
    Deng Xiaopeng
    Mao Tse Tung
    Ai Wei Wei

    1. Well done Steve! You truly are a clever guy with a vast reservoir of knowledge just waiting to be tapped. Even so I am pleased that China stumped you!

    2. LOL -- I thought of three more for China on the walk home: Sun Yat Sen, Chiang Kai-Shek and Yo Yo Ma (I think?).

  4. Thanks for the challenge! I am at a loss for South America, but here's what I came up with for Africa:

    Haile Selassie
    Nelson Mandela
    Seretse Khama
    Idi Amin
    Ramses I

    Anwar Sadat
    Robert Mugabe

    I'll admit once I had my list, I did check to make sure of the spellings. I think between authors, musicians, and rulers/politicians, I might be able to get a Russian list. Not China, though. I've read enough Roman history that I could probably do Italy, as well... though I'd definitely be drawing from antiquity.

    1. Applause to you for giving this challenge full consideration.

    2. Miriam Macaber (spelling!) Clicked with me. Looked it up...Makeba

  5. This is way too challenging for me! I could do the U.S., Canada and France. Probably G.B.

    1. US:-
      Mickey Mouse
      Daffy Duck
      Homer Simpson
      Popeye the Sailorman
      Bart Simpson
      Olive Oil
      Peter Griffin
      Yogi Bear
      Donald Trump

      (I decided to just go for cartoon characters)

    2. Who the heck is Peter Griffin?

    3. You don't know who Peter Griffin is? He is the archetypal white American male and head of the Griffin family in "Family Guy"! Tut-tut Steve!

    4. Oh! I never watched that show.

  6. I think I could do Russia - forgive dreadful spelling - the others would stump me

    Tsar Nicolas
    Peter the Great

    I could go on, but as for Norway etc, not a chance.

    I like naming challenges like this - hundreds of variants possible. Try naming twenty British Wild Mammals genus's for example (so mice all count as one, as do say deer) - if you stick to genuinely 'wild' (not including say cattle) then it is much harder than you might think.

    1. All those Russians! Are you a commie Mark?
      mouse deer vole badger fox rat wildcat shrew weasel rabbit hare mole hedgehog bat beaver squirrel otter seal wallaby...oh! I need one more. How annoying! Wild boar?

    2. Well done YP. Beaver and wallaby (from loch Lomond I think?) are pushing it a bit... ha ha. But then you could have added stoat, pine marten or even dolphin (I guess marine mammals would count). And near here in Wales we recently had a walrus visit! Surprisingly few mammals though compared to birds aren't there.

    3. Wasn't the walrus actually a fat lass called Bronwen who was ejected from Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff after downing eleven double vodka and limes and fighting with the doormen?

  7. I could manage Sweden but feel it would be like cheating... ;)

    1. Bjorn Borg
      Zlatan Ibrahimovic
      Stefan Edberg
      Agnetha Fältskog
      Björn Ulvaeus
      Benny Andersson
      Anni-Frid Lyngstad
      Britt Ekland
      Greta Thunberg
      Alfred Nobel
      Dawn Treader (bonus)

  8. I haven't looked at any of the comments on this post either.

    Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya)
    Nelson Mandela (South Africa)
    Anwar Sadat (Egypt)
    King Farouk (Egypt)
    Miramar Khaddafi (Libya)
    Robert Mugabe (Uganda)
    Rameses II (Egypt)
    Rameses I (Egypt)
    King Tutunkhamen (Egypt)
    Queen Nefertiti (Egypt)

    South America:
    Simon Bolivar (Venezuela)
    Hugo Chavez (Venezuela)
    August Pinochet (Chile)
    Pope Francis (Argentina)
    Juan Peron (Argentina)
    Eva Peron (Argentina)
    Che Guevara (Argentina)
    Pele (Brazil)
    Pablo Escobar (Colombia)
    Carmen Miranda (Brazil, but she was born in Portugal)

    1. Good effort Bob! The judges will even accept Carmen Miranda!

  9. WALES: Neil Kinnock, Ivor the engine, Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Nerys Hughes, Aneurin Bevan, Cerys Matthews and Max Boyce.

    1. I do not wish to hurt your feelings Dave but Ivor the Engine was not real!

  10. Anonymous10:27 pm

    Not that I could do it but I would have thought Russia would be easy enough.

    1. Don't just talk about it Andrew! Do it man!

  11. Anonymous10:32 pm

    I'll kick off Russia with Laika.

    1. And I will kick Laika back as she is a bloody dog!

  12. How about adding Christiaan Barnard for Africa ... or South Africa !

    1. Yes. Good one Helen and how about another South African - the great rugby player Joost van der Westhuizen .

  13. Pass, here too! Yet when I read the lists I found myself thinking "well I knew that one". To be honest, if I want this sort of information these days I'd go straight to Google!
    When I first read the blog, I almost asked if you wanted the names of ten people from every country on both continents! Now that would have really taxed everyone!

  14. Just a thought after reading the lists - how would they look after the notorious names were removed!

  15. China
    - chiang Kai shek
    -Ai Weiwei
    - Madame Mao
    - jung Chang
    - Jan Wong
    - peng shuai
    - Confucius
    - deng xioping


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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