Nomzamo Mbatha, Thuso Mbedu and 3 more SA stars making it big on the global stage

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Nomzamo Mbatha at the Global Citizen Prize event in New York City.
Nomzamo Mbatha at the Global Citizen Prize event in New York City.
Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

The world was never ready.

South Africans have been taking their skills, talents and a determined spirit on to the global stage, and the world is taking notice.

It’s no secret the kind of impact South African talent has already made on the international scene, with stars like Charlize Theron, Black Coffee and Trevor Noah already seen as part of Hollywood’s royalty.

From abstract visionary art to red carpet premieres on the world stage, these local celebrities are broadcasting the vibrant and diverse talents and cultures that only be born and bred in South Africa.

Here’s a list of our country’s talents getting their international flowers of recognition:

1. Nomzamo Mbatha

No stranger to the limelight, Nomzamo has proved herself to be one of South Africa’s actresses the world is not afraid to venture into roles that put her acting skills to the test.

It’s for this very reason that the world deserves to see her talents, a feat already accomplished with her Hollywood debut as Mirembe in Coming 2 America, the sequel to the iconic comedy.

A bona fide movie star, producer and human rights activist, the 32-year-old currently stars as Alexa in the Bruce Willis-led action thriller Assassin, released in South Africa on 5 May 2023.

READ MORE | Nomzamo Mbatha to make producing debut in Shaka Ilembe

Acting in a gritty crime thriller as a trained killer and claiming the role of Queen Nandi in Mzansi Magic's Shaka Ilembe, it’s clear that Nomzamo’s talent is taking her places.

2. Leleti Khumalo

The Yesterday and Imbewu actress and producer has undoubtedly reached legend status in her home country and the recognition she has received worldwide is deserved to the fullest extent.

Following her iconic role as the title character in the 1992 drama musical Sarafina! the TRUELOVE August/September 2022 cover star has used her reach and star power to aid those in need, including contributing to the relief efforts of the devastating KwaZulu-Natal floods in July 2022.

Solidifying her legacy 31 years after Sarafina!’s initial release, Leleti was honoured at the Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2023 with a five-minute standing ovation after a restored version of the film was played.

3. Ndlovu Youth Choir

Few could have anticipated the astronomical trajectory of one of the country’s most beloved youth choir.

Since its inception in 2009 as a community-based initiative in Elandsdoorn, Limpopo, including lead members Thabang Sikoe and Ntombenhle Galela among many others, the award-winning group has burst onto the international stage following their near-perfect run on season 14 of America’s Got Talent and their appearance on the all-star season of the show.

Now performing for stars like Elton John and lighting up the stage in countries all over Europe, the future looks bright for the young stars.

4. Nelson Makamo

Limpopo-born contemporary artist Nelson Makamo has had a myriad of support and recognition from the iconic names and brands from the international community.

Known for his mixed-medium portraits reflecting the youth and his everyday surroundings, Nelson’s art portrays the kind of emotion reminiscent of South Africa’s rich and turbulent climate.

Nelson’s work has been celebrated by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, with his art gracing the cover of TIME Magazine’s 2019 Optimists issue.

5. Thuso Mbedu

The Pietermaritzburg-born actress has had quite the eventful year flying South Africa’s flag high, ever since bagging roles in the Prime Video limited series The Underground Railroad and in the historical film The Woman King.

Thuso’s award-winning acting has won her accolades from the Hollywood Critics Association and the Independent Spirit Awards, placing her in the rightful spot of one of the country’s most recognised and formidable young actresses.

Being the muse of some the world’s most recognised luxury brands while rubbing shoulders with Hollywood veterans, Thuso’s achievements showcase that there’s no limit to reaching for your dreams.

READ MORE | Style Crush | 4 glamorous looks from Thuso Mbedu spotlighting local designers

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