Meet the first South African actress to lead an American series!!! Thuso Mbedu
Photo Credit: Thuso Mbedu Facebook - On File

The talented performer will make history as the first South African actress to lead an American television series!!!


Johannesburg, South Africa – Thuso Mbedu may not be very well known to American audiences, but she is already a bona fide star in South Africa.

Mbedu has been nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the telenovela Is’Thunzi, which has been called “one of the most compelling television programmes on South African television” by Mail & Guardian. She also played Kitso Medupe in the Soap opera Scandal!, Nosisa in Isibaya, and Boni Khumalo in Saints and Sinners.

And now the superstar will make history as the first South African actress to lead an American television series.

Mbedu has officially been cast as Cora, the main character of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel – The Underground Railroad.

The Underground Railroad was published in 2016 and is the sixth novel by American author Colson Whitehead.

The alternate history novel tells the story of Cora and Caesar, two slaves in the southeastern United States during the 19th century, who make a bid for freedom from their Georgia plantations by following the Underground Railroad, which the novel depicts as primarily a rail transport system in addition to a series of safe houses and secret routes.

The Underground Railroad was a critical and commercial success, hitting the bestseller lists and winning several notable prizes. It won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

Amazon is making a limited drama series based on the book written and directed by Barry Jenkins, who co-wrote and directed the Oscar-winning film Moonlight! The drama series adaptation is set to be one of the favourable productions of the year and a role that will shoot Mbedu to stardom in America!

Meet the first South African actress to lead an American series!!! Thuso Mbedu

But Mbedu is a proud South African who was born in Pietermaritzburg and grew up in Pelham. Her mother died when she was just four years old, and she was raised by her loving grandmother. She received performance training at the University of Witwatersrand from 2010-2013, graduating Cum Laude with an Honours and majoring in Physical Theatre and Performing Arts Management.

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

After being jobless for six months, Thuso landed her first starring role in television in the Mzansi Magic teen drama series Is’thunzi, which premiered in October 2016. 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, KwaZulu-Natal.

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 and was the only African to be nominated that year!

And now the star has made history becoming the first South African actress to lead an American television series.

Congratulations Thuso!!!!! South Africa is looking forward to seeing the show, and watching your career grow from strength to strength!

Sources: Thuso Mbedu | Underground Railroad | Wikipedia 
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