The United States celebrates Independence Day on July 4, in recognition of the country declaring its independence from the British Empire on July 4 1776. Alongside Independence Day, another famous US construct is the American Dream.
This is a national idea or concept in the U.S., in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success — supposedly, an opportunity available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved.
Now, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with South Africa. Well, there are notable South African expats who are flying the flag high in the U.S. and living the American Dream.
Here are five of them:
1. Elon Musk
Entrepreneur, innovator, inventor, activist and founder of PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and OpenAI, South Africa-born Elon Musk is changing the world with his inventions.
He is also a popular figure on social media, because he uses platforms such as Twitter to announce his cool inventions and express his opinions.
He is without doubt changing the world. Here's a look at some of the things Musk has done, or plans to do:
a) An electric car in space
b) The world's fastest production car
In 2017, Musk introduced the Tesla Roadster, which he called the fastest production car in the world. The base model will go from zero to 100kph in 1.9 seconds, making it the first to hit that mark in less than two seconds, and from zero to 160kph in 4.2 seconds, making it the fastest in that category as well.
c) A city on Mars
Over time, Mars will be terraformed, says Musk, "making it really a nice place to be". He plans to have the BFR — a "privately funded, next-generation reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system" — refuel in space for trips to the moon, so a lunar base will not need to store a supply of fuel.
2. Trevor Noah
The South African comedian and host of U.S. satire "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" proves that with hard work and belief in your craft, you can make it anywhere. He's done so well that his life will soon be turned into a biopic.
In "Born A Crime" — the title of Noah's stand-up comedy show, book and soon-to-be feature film — he shares his experiences of being born mixed-race during apartheid.
After launching his career with a cameo role on soap opera "Isidingo" on SABC in 2002, Noah joined radio station YFM two years later with his "Noah's Ark" show. His gradual emergence on the South African entertainment scene saw Noah host SABC1's celebrity gossip show, "The Real Goboza", in 2007, as well as sports show "Siyadlala".
But it was his 2009 one-man stand-up comedy show "The Daywalker", that really catapulted the comedian into the spotlight. He was the man of the moment, going on to host the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) in the same year and the South African Music Awards (Samas) in 2010. He'd laid solid foundations at home and had set the scene for his next step: taking on the international stage.
Before being called up to host "The Daily Show", Noah was the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on "The Tonight Show" (then still hosted by Jay Leno) in 2012.
3. Charlize Theron
Straight out of Benoni, Charlize Theron is arguably South Africa's greatest actress. I mean, where do you even start? From being the first South African to win an Oscar for her portrayal as a serial killer in the critically acclaimed "Monster", to starring in a prestigious list of Hollywood blockbusters, Theron's credentials speak for themselves
She ventured into producing in the late 2000s and founded her production company, Denver and Delilah Productions, which has produced numerous films. Theron became a U.S. citizen in 2007 while retaining her South African citizenship. In 2016, Time put her on the annual Time 100 most influential people list.
4. Kevin Anderson
Born in South Africa but residing in Floria in the U.S., Kevin Anderson is flying the SA flag in the world of tennis. He is currently at number 8 on the world ATP tennis rankings. In 2017, he became the first South African to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in 14 years at the U.S. Open, and the nation was upbeat after his history-defying match. He beat Pablo Carreno Busta, but ultimately lost to Rafael Nadal in the final.
The day before the final, HuffPost SA spoke to Barbara Anderson, Kevin's mom, who told us how proud she was of her son and his tennis exploits. He is currently competing at this year's Wimbledon tournament.
5. Gary Player
Having won 165 tournaments on six continents over six decades and being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, Gary Player is South Africa's greatest golfer.
During his illustrious career, Player won nine major championships on the regular tour and six Champions Tour major championship victories. At the age of 29, Player won the 1965 US Open and became the only non-American to win all four majors, known as a career Grand Slam.
Player won that tournament in June 1965 at the Bellerive Country Club in Missouri, making it the fourth of his nine major titles. The tournament was also the first US Open broadcast on colour television.
Player became only the third golfer in history to win the career Grand Slam, and even has a golf course that he designed named after him at Sun City, the Gary Player Country Club, where the annual Nedbank Challenge is held.