Actress Thuso Mbedu Who Played a 19-Year-Old Warrior in "Woman King" is Really 31 Years Old

Thuso Mbedu

South African actress Thuso Nokwanda Mbedu plays the role of Nawi opposite Viola Davis in the hit film The Woman King. In the film, her character is that of a 19-year-old warrior, but in real life, she is actually 31 years old.

Thuso was born in 1991 to a Zulu mother and a Xhosa and Sotho father, as her multicultural name reflects. She was raised in the Pelham neighborhood by her Zulu grandmother, who became her legal guardian after her parents died while she was young.

She attended Pelham Primary School and subsequently Pietermaritzburg Girls' High School before going on to study Physical Theatre and Performing Arts Management at the Wits University in Johannesburg where she graduated with honors in 2013.

Later, she landed her first starring role as Winnie on a teen drama series called Is'Thunzi which premiered in October 2016. In 2017, she became the only African actress on the show nominated for an International Emmy Award in the category of Best Performance by an Actress.

In 2021, Thuso made her international debut in the The Underground Railroad series on Amazon Prime. The series is based on the Colson Whitehead novel of the same name and was produced and directed by Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins.

In 2022, she debuted for the first time in theaters as Nawi in The Woman King, which also starred Viola Davis and John Boyega. The film, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, is loosely based on real life events that occurred in the Dahomey Kingdom, one of the most important African states in the 18th and 19th centuries.

For her remarkable work, Thuso has was featured on the 2018 Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list.

Follow her on Instagram @Thuso.Mbedu