Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town. Image: By Gallo Images

South African artwork dominates the list of the most sought-after artefacts Africa's ultra rich spend their money on, according to Henley & Partners, an investment migration consultancy based in London.

Art that fetches top dollar is from South Africans, Sculptor Sydney Kumalo (1935-1988), painter John Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957), Gerard Sekoto (1913-1993) who is also known as the father of black South African art, and Irma Stern (1894-1966).

Stern's works are the top earners with one of her pieces going for as much as R54 million.

"Irma Stern traditionally sets the top prices at art auctions in Africa. Her paintings can fetch up to US$3 million (about R54 million) each, with an average price of around US$ 300 000 (about R5.4 million) per painting," Henley & Partners says.

Some of the most sought-after African works belong to sculptor Ghanaian El Anatsui (79), Ethiopian painter Julie Mehretu (52), the late Ethiopian painter Alexander Boghossian, late Nigerian painter and sculptor Ben Enwonwu, the late Morrocan painter Hassan El Glaoui and Egyptian painter Omar El Nagdi, whose 1992 painting Sarajevo was sold for more than R18 million in 2016.

Henley & Partners also forecasts that Africa's rich, particularly those in South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Kenya - the continent's most advanced countries in terms of their car industries - will become world leaders in vintage car collections.

"The following models are expected to be in high demand: The original Porsche 911 Turbo (1970s), the Ferrari 355 (1990s), the Porsche 911 Carrera RS (1970s), the Aston Martin DB5 (1960s), the Lamborghini Countach (1980s), and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Gullwing' (1950s)," the consultancy says in its latest wealth report on Africa.

Despite being a mineral-rich continent, Africa has vast forests and vibrant wildlife and tourism sectors.

Far from the bustle of civilisation, Africa's rich love to spend their time exploring the continent's eco-tourism.

Henley & Partners says the most attractive wildlife for the ultra rich are the Apex 7 animals, which are the African leopard, cheetah, Ethiopian wolf, caracal, lion, crowned eagle, and martial eagle.

"As the continent's top apex predators, these species also serve as indicators for the health of Africa's various habitats (desert, jungle, mountain, and savannah). The crowned eagle, for instance, is widely seen as a vital barometer for the condition of Africa's jungles, while the martial eagle is used to gauge the state of the savannahs.

"Concerningly, most of the Apex 7 are currently listed as endangered or vulnerable. Protecting these species indirectly protects the many others that make up the ecological community and natural wealth of Africa," the report states.

Fifty-two billionaires on the continent were born in Africa although only 23 of them still live there. Most of them are South African residents.


  • Video
  • Latest News
  • Spotlight
  • Opinion
  • Telling the African Story: Komla Dumor.
  • Africa Straight Up - Official Film.
  • Ethiopian Ancient Architecture and its History.
  • Aliens Visit to Ethiopia Sacred Places.
  • My Love & Pride - The Other Side of Africa.