Fundiswa Nkwanyana chats to Zola Nombona (25) and Thuso Mbedu (25) about their budding acting careers, and journey to discovering themselves.
Zola and Thuso give each other laughter-filled high-fives with a youthful bounce while shooting for the cover. At that moment, I realise that two vibrant ladies carving their own path in the entertainment industry stand before me.
Thuso was introduced to the harsh realities of life at four years old when her mother, Sibongile Mbedu, died. She then went to live with her grandmother Thokozile Mbedu in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Thuso’s grandmother became her heroine for trying her best to fill the empty void in her heart – a selfless act that she is eternally grateful for.
Life is what you make it
In 2014, her grandmother died days before the first episode of her debut on Saints and Sinners aired. “Even though my life started off on a bitter note, I love how beautifully everything is unfolding now,” she says. Having to learn to deal with pain and loss from a young age made her strong.
Because Thuso didn’t want to be a burden to her grandmother, one of her life goals has been to excel in everything. “Back then, I could see that she was trying her best to provide for me, and I wanted to help her.” Fortunately, her mother’s education savings plan got her through school and the first year of university. Thereafter, she hustled for scholarships to continue studying. Thuso attributes her academic achievements to staying focused on her studies and ensuring that she gets good grades. She has an honours degree in drama and arts from Wits University. While at the university, she was awarded several scholarships, including the EJA Loerincz in 2011 and the New York University Summer Programme in 2012. Working hard, and not expecting handouts, is what continues to set her above the rest. She advises young people to follow in the footsteps of the youth in 1976, and work hard to reach their dreams.
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