Thuso Mbedu

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Thuso Mbedu
Thuso Mbedu talking in 2019 01.png
Thuso Mbedu sharing her journey in The Woman King, 2019
Born
Thuso Nokwanda Mbedu

(1991-07-08) 8 July 1991 (age 31)
Education Pietermaritzburg Girls' High School
Alma mater Wits University
OccupationActor
Years active2014–present

Thuso Nokwanda Mbedu (born 8 July 1991) is a South African actress. Her breakout role was in the South African teen drama series Is'Thunzi for which she won the 2018 South African Film and Television Award for Best Actress in a Television Drama and nominated consecutively for an International Emmy in 2017 and 2018. [1] [2] [3] She appeared on the 2018 Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list. [4] In 2021, she starred in the Amazon Video limited series The Underground Railroad making her the first South African actress to lead an American television series. It also secured her second SAFTA nomination [5] and the 2022 Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series. [6]

Contents

Her other television roles include Kitso Medupe in the soap opera Scandal! , [7] Nosisa in Isibaya , and Boni Khumalo in Saints and Sinners. [8] [9] [10] In 2022, Mbedu appeared on the big screen in Gina Prince-Bythewood's historical epic The Woman King in the role of Nawi. [11]

Early life

Mbedu was born at Midlands Medical Centre in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal to a Zulu mother and a Xhosa and Sotho father, which is reflected in her multicultural name. [lower-alpha 1] [12] [13] She was raised in the Pelham area by her Zulu grandmother, who became her legal guardian after the passing of both her parents at an early age. [14]

Mbedu attended Pelham Primary School and then Pietermaritzburg Girls' High School. [15] She went on to study Physical Theatre and Performing Arts Management at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), graduating in 2013 with honours. [16] The year prior in 2012, she took a course with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City. [17]

Career

In late 2014, Mbedu had a small role in the second season of the Mzansi Magic soapie Isibaya , before landing her role as 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.

After being unemployed for six months, Mbedu landed her first starring role in television in the Mzansi Magic teen drama series Is'Thunzi , which premiered in October 2016. [9] [18] In the series she played Winnie, a sassy go-getter who dreams of marrying a rich and famous rugby player only to have her dreams dashed when she is exiled to go live with her strict aunt in Bergville. While filming a rape scene for the show, she suffered a panic attack. [19] In September 2017 she was nominated for an International Emmy Award in the category Best Performance by an Actress for her role as Winnie in Is'Thunzi [20] and was the only African to be nominated that year. [21]

Mbedu made her international debut in the 2021 Amazon Video historical limited series The Underground Railroad , based on the novel of the same name by Colson Whitehead and directed and executive produced by Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins. [22] [23] Mbedu earned a Hollywood Critics Association Award, an Independent Spirit Award, and a Gotham Award for the series. [24]

In April 2021, it was announced Mbedu would make her film debut opposite Viola Davis in The Woman King , a historical epic film inspired by the true events that took place in the Kingdom of Dahomey, [25] one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. The film is set to be directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, from a script by Fatherhood co-writer Dana Stevens. [11] [26] [27]

Filmography

Key
Dagger-14-plain.pngDenotes productions that have not yet been released

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
2022 The Woman King Nawi

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
2014–2018Saints and SinnersBoni KhumaloLead role
2014 Isibaya Nosisa3 episodes
2015–2017 Scandal! Kitso MedupeSupporting role (15 episodes)
2015Snake ParkKhethiGuest role
2016–2017 Is'Thunzi Winnie BhenguLead role (25 episodes)
2017–2019 Shuga IpelengRecurring role (20 episodes) [28]
2018 Generations: The Legacy Okuhle CeleRecurring role
2018Side DishPhiweMiniseries
2021 The Underground Railroad Cora RandallMiniseries (8 episodes)

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryNominated worksResultRef.
2017DSTV Viewers Choice AwardsBest Actress Is'Thunzi Nominated
International Emmy Awards Best Performance by an ActressNominated
2018 South African Film and Television Awards Best Actress TV DramaWon
International Emmy Awards Best Performance by an ActressNominated
2019 South African Film and Television Awards Best Actress – TV DramaNominated
2021 TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Drama The Underground Railroad Nominated
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Actress, TV Movie/Limited SeriesNominated
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Television MovieNominated
TV Breakout StarWon
Gotham Awards Outstanding Performance in New Series Won [29]
2022 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Movie Nominated [30]
Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series Won [31]

Notes

  1. Thuso is Sotho, Nokwanda is Zulu, and Mbedu is Xhosa.

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References

  1. actress Thuso Mbedu gets International Emmy nomination
  2. "7 Questions With… Thuso Mbedu – Forbes Africa". Forbes Africa. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  3. Mthonti, Fezokuhle. "Thuso Mbedu: A kaleidoscope of dreams". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  4. "Under 30 Creatives - Forbes Africa" . Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  5. "Thuso Mbedu gets multiple nominations for 'The Underground Railroad'". www.gq.co.za. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  6. Schaffstall, Katherine; Schaffstall, Katherine (7 March 2022). "Spirit Awards: Lee Jung-jae, Thuso Mbedu Become First-Time Winners for Best Male, Female Leads in TV Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  7. "Thuso Mbedu on how she made it against all odds". News24 . 28 July 2017.
  8. "10 Things You Didn't Know About Scandal Actress Thuso Mbedu". Youth Village. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  9. 1 2 "Thuso Mbedu: From out of work to Emmy nominee". Channel24. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  10. Vieira, Genevieve. "Thuso Mbedu is truly blessed". The Citizen. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  11. 1 2 Kroll, Justin (28 April 2021). "'Underground Railroad's Thuso Mbedu To Star Opposite Viola Davis In 'The Woman King King'". Deadline. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  12. "Thuso Mbedu". TVSA.
  13. Naidoo, Deepika (28 September 2020). "'I had no clue what they were saying'-Thuso Mbedu on connecting with her Sotho heritage". Times Live. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  14. "From PMB to the world's TVs". News24. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  15. Kunene, Nompilo (30 January 2017). "From PMB to the world's TVs". The Witness. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  16. "Meet the first South African actress to lead an American series!!!". Good Things Guy. 17 April 2019.
  17. "10 Things You Didn't Know About Scandal Actress Thuso Mbedu". Youth Village. 16 May 2016.
  18. "Here's 5 things you need to know about actress Thuso Mbedu". TimesLIVE . Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  19. "Thuso Mbedu Is Leaving For The International Emmys With Hope For South Africans". Huffington Post South Africa. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  20. "Thuso Mbedu on life after Emmy nod: 'The truth is we are very dispensable'". Times LIVE. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  21. "'Is'thunzi' star Thuso Mbedu nominated for #Emmy Award | IOL Entertainment" . Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  22. Ramos, Dino-Ray (21 October 2020). "'The Underground Railroad' Teaser: Barry Jenkins Offers First Glimpse Of Thuso Mbedu As Cora In Amazon Limited Series". Deadline. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  23. "Thuso Mbedu can't wait for viewers to see her new series with Barry Jenkins". Channel. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  24. Ngwenya, Nkhensani (30 August 2021). "Thuso Mbedu Walks Away With An International Award". Surge Zirc SA. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  25. Höffele, Lerato. "Thuso Mbedu bags role alongside Viola Davis in 'The Woman King'". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  26. Morkel, Graye. "Thuso Mbedu to star opposite Viola Davis in The Woman King". Channel. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  27. "Africans making waves in Hollywood". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  28. MTV Shuga: Down South - Ipeleng goes to Varsity - YouTube
  29. Lattanzio, Ryan (30 November 2021). "Gotham Awards: 'The Lost Daughter' Wins Top Prize — See the Full List of Winners". IndieWire. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  30. Pedersen, Eric (6 December 2021). "Critics Choice TV Nominations: 'Succession' Leads Field As HBO Edges Netflix". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  31. Matiwane, Nonkululeko (7 March 2022). "South Africa celebrates Thuso Mbedu as she bags Spirit Award for Underground Railroad performance". News24 . Retrieved 7 March 2022.