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Meet Thuso Mbedu, Africa’s star actress

South Africa’s Thuso Mbedu is set to star in the highly awaited American historical drama, Underground Railroad which premiered on Amazon Video on May 14th 2021. Making her the first South African actress to cast as the lead in an International series. The series is based on Colson Whitehead’s novel, The Underground Railroad and directed by award-winning Barry Jenkins, who’s recognized for directing, producing and screenwriting various films. 


Thuso will play the lead role as Cora Randall, a young woman who flees from the Georgia plantation, where she and her family have been slaves for three generations. With the help of some acquaintances, she will find an underground train system that transports runway slaves up north, unfolding a new chapter in her life.

In a recent interview with Black Girl Nerds, Thuso revealed that she struggled to meet the physical demands of her role as Cora since it involved a lot of running. She also shared that she had to see a therapist after wrapping up the series to help her separate herself from Cora and officially bid goodbye to the role. 

With a background in Physical Theatre and Performing Arts Management, Thuso began professionally acting in 2015. She has since played several roles that have paved the way for her in the international scene. 

Thuso particularly captured the heart of many on her first starring role in Is’thunzi, a South African Drama series that premiered in October 2016 on Mzanzi Magic. Playing the role of Winnie, a feisty lass who didn’t let her circumstances dictate who she was and what she believed in. Even after being thrown into a completely different world, she adapted and stayed focused on her goals and didn’t forget to support her friends. This was the ground-breaking role that led to a nomination for the International Emmy Award as Best Performance by an Actress in 2017, making her the only African to be nominated that year. She then bagged her second year in a row Emmy nomination in 2018. 

The thespian recently revealed that she is working on an imminent project, starring Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o in the film, The Woman King. 



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