African Actors: Changing the narrative

by Peace Osemwengie

Pearl Thusi

Born Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi on the 13th of May 1988, Thusi has done her native country of South Africa proud. Thusi is best known for her portrayal of Patricia Kopong in the BBC/HBO comedy-drama series, The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Dayana Mampari in Quantico, and Samkelo in the romantic drama, Catching Feelings. She also played the role of Tala in The Scorpion King: Book of Souls. Thusi is currently playing a lead role in the Netflix crime drama series, Queen Sono. She is one of South Africa’s most influential actresses.

Lupita Nyong’o

Is undoubtedly one of the best actors to come out of Africa. The Kenyan-Mexican actress has starred in blockbusters such as Black Panther, Us, 12 Years a Slave, and Queen of Katwe. She is also an award-winning stage actress. Nyong’o is the first African, and first Kenyan-Mexican to win an Academy Award. She won it for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. Lupita has also written a children’s book, Sulwe, which became a New York Times bestseller. She was named among Africa’s “50 most powerful women” by Forbes in 2020.

Read also: African authors; our stories have been told truthfully

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Has enjoyed and is enjoying a long and illustrious career. He has received numerous awards and nominations for acting, including the BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award in 2006, two Golden Globe Awards nominations, and the Laurence Olivier Best Actor Award for his performance in Othello in 2008. Ejiofor was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth 11 for services to the arts and was elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2015. Some of his best-known movies include 12 Years a Slave, Half of a Yellow Sun, Doctor Strange, and The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.

Djimon Hounsou

If you have watched Blood Diamond, Gladiators, The Legend of Tarzan, Furious 7, and Captain Marvel, you’d be familiar with Djimon Hounsou. The Beninese-American actor and model began his career by appearing in music videos. Hounsou came into the limelight for his role as Cinque` in the movie Amistad, in 1997. He began modeling in Paris in 1987 after he was encouraged by Thierry Mugler, and the rest, as they say, is history. He has received a Golden Globe Award nomination and three Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations. He was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the movie, In America. That nomination made him the fourth African male to be nominated for an Oscar.

These actors are proof that anything can be done by Africans. They have shown that hardwork and dedication to the craft will trump adversity everytime, and for this, we celebrate them in our Black History feature.

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