THUSO MBEDU: SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST ACTRESS TO LEAD AN AMERICAN TV SERIES.

Thuso Mbedu is a South African actress who gained international recognition for her remarkable talent and captivating performances
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Thuso Mbedu is a South African actress who gained international recognition for her remarkable talent and captivating performances. She was born on July 8, 1991, in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She attended Pelham Primary School and then Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School. She later on continued and studied Physical Theatre and Performing Arts Management at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), graduating in 2013 with honours, after also having taken a course at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City in 2012.

In 2014, Mbedu made her television debut in the drama series “Isibaya” in its second season. After that, she a role as a journalism student and wild child Kitso on “Scandal!”. She then had a guest role as Kheti on the second season of the SABC 2 teen drama series “Snake Park”, and a lead role as Boni Khumalo in the television series “Saints and Sinners”. She later stayed 6 months unemployed, and a role in the Mzansi Magic teen drama series “Is’Thunzi” where she portrayed the lead character Winnie. Her exceptional portrayal of Winnie, a young girl from a rural village navigating the challenges of urban life, earned her critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including two International Emmy Award nominations for Best Performance as an Actress.

Following her success in “Is’Thunzi”, Mbedu continued to make waves in the industry. She appeared in other notable television shows such as “Liberty”, “Shuga” just to name a few.  In 2020, she starred in the limited series “The Underground Railroad” directed by Barry Jenkins and based on the novel by Colson Whitehead. Her performance as Cora Randall, a young woman escaping slavery in the American South, received widespread praise and solidified her as a rising star in Hollywood. In April 2021, it was announced she would make her film debut as Nawi opposite Viola Davis in “The Woman King”, a historical epic film inspired by the true events that took place in the Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. The film was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, from a script by Fatherhood co-writer Dana Stevens.

Mbedu’s talent has not only been recognized by audiences and critics but also by industry professionals. She has been honoured with several awards, including the SAFTA Golden Horn Award for Best Actress and the Rising Star Award at the 2017 International Emmy Awards. in 2021, due to her role as Cora, it made her the first South African actress to lead an American television series and it earned her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series.

Beyond her acting career, Mbedu is passionate about using her platform to share different contents. In 2023, she became the ambassador and spoke person of L’Oréal for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Thuso Mbedu continues to push boundaries and inspire others with her exceptional talent and dedication to her craft. Her future projects are highly anticipated, and she is undoubtedly a very talented star in the global entertainment industry.

Delia Nyadi.

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