Thuso Mbedu. Picture: Supplied

"I've screamed, I've danced and jumped, I've prayed", this is how South African actress Thuso Mbedu, reacted when she found out that she was nominated for an International Emmy Award. 

The actress who stars in the Mzansi Magic's drama series, Is'thunzi – Damaged But Not Broken is the only African nominee this year. 

Past African nominees include Brenda Ngxoli and Lerato Mvalase for their roles as Vuyo and Katlego respectively in the SABC1 drama series Home Affairs

Bhedu was nominated in the category Best Performance by an Actress and will go up against, Adriana Esteves in Justiça, Anna Friel in Marcella and Sonja Gerhardt in Ku'damm 56. 

AKA's 'Life on the Road' web-series premieres episode 3

“I’ve experienced a range of emotions since I found out today (Wednesday) over Twitter. I am still trying to grasp what this actually means for me right now. But also on the other hand thinking about looking to attend the awards and looking for sponsors for the trip,” said the 26 year-old actress. 

She said that she owed this nomination to the character herself and challenges faced. 

“Winnie is a challenging character, and right from the start I took a decision to go all in and grow with this character. I would make offer after offer trying to be the best that no one has never been seen before,” said Bhedu. 

Is'thunzi is a provocative coming of age drama that tells the story of Winnie, a young girl who has a dream – to rescue herself and her older brother (who sacrificed his own dreams to raise her) from poverty. While other kids are at school studying for their final exams.  

Cut it with Khanyi

“Winnie is a bad ass. She has been through the most, seen the most and she never settles for anything less than what she deserves. But although she is a badass, she is also a character I can relate to in that she is very caring, considerate and always ready help others, so her character is very 3D. And just when you think you’ve figured her out, she changes on you. No matter how down and out she is, she still raises up. She has super powers!,” Bhedu said. 

While Bhedu said that being nominated was an extremely big deal for her, she  believes that her best is still yet to come. 

“Getting the global nod means a lot. I am grateful for the nomination and it’s because of this character that I am here - but I feel that I have so much more to offer the industry and I am going to raise to the occasion if it speaks to who I am. I not only owe it to myself, but to South Africa,” she added.. 

Mbedu thanked one of her main mentors in the field was Amanda Lane. 

Lane is the writer of Is'thunzi and is currently helping Mbedu with other writing projects. 

“Amanda has a beautiful heart. From the audition room right to the set. She makes sure she gets the best out of you. We do rehearsals before shooting which does not always happen in the industry. She cares for you as a person and not just someone who will deliver results. She is also currently mentoring me in writing and working behind the scenes,” she said. 

Mbedu said her love for the industry has made her passionate about wanting to learn the way things work on set and behind the scene. 

“I am currently working on a script for a film that’s still in the development stage with the KZN Film Commision. And also writing a script for a series. I have also collaborated with my peers on different things because I believe that if there is no work, then we need to create work, and this is one of the ways in which we do it,”she revealed.

On Facebook, Mbedu posted “Never lose heart. Keep pushing. Your dream is just a stepping stone to the greater things God has in store for you.”