Emmy nominee Thuso Mbedu
Growing up in a life of poverty wasn’t easy for Thuso Mbedu. But the South African actress believes the pain and suffering she experienced as a teenager helped her to become the success she is today.

“I choose to believe that if certain aspects of my life had been different, I would not be this Thuso Mbedu. The hardships and the good things have crafted me into who I am,” she says.

Last year, the Pietermaritzburg born-actress received the highest form of international recognition when she was nominated for an Emmy Award, but she eventually lost out to English actress Anna Friel in the best actress category.

Now the 27-year-old has yet another shot at winning the prestigious award after she bagged an Emmy nomination again for her role as Winnie in local drama Is’thunzi.

Mbedu is humbled.

“To be nominated twice is amazing. The first time was great but this second time is sweeter,” says Mbedu.

“I’m blessed to have worked with such a great team and humbled to be representing Africa and the talent that it possesses at the awards ceremony.

“If I win, the award will show the world that Africa has talent, because we do. I still have personal career goals that I wish to fulfil. So, this back-to-back nod is amazing but I also will not get lost in the hype because there’s more to be done.”

She considers her role as Winnie in Is’thunzi as her toughest yet. Mbedu never forgets how challenging her journey has been. She lost her mother at the age of four, and was then taken care of by her grandmother, who died in 2014 and she was left orphaned, without a home.

“It wasn’t easy financially considering that my grandmother was a pensioner. Sometimes at home we lived on just bread and tea because there was nothing else and my best friend would bring me lunch at school.

“To be honest, I didn’t realise how bad our situation really was because I was greatly loved and supported by my grandmother, sister and best friend.

“After my granny passed in 2014, not having a home was bad but not having my grandmother was worse.”

Having spent a few years as an orphan, Mbedu dreams of opening an orphanage, building a home “filled with love for children who do not have homes”.

She also wants to start her own production company. “My desire is to create quality shows and movies and more importantly to create more job opportunities for people in the arts.”

The Saturday Star