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Thuso Mbedu
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1. The First South African Actress to Lead an American Television Series

The search for the lead role in Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of The Underground Railroad, has come to an end: Thuso Mbedu has officially been cast as Cora, the main character of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Jenkins has given the main roles of Cora, Homer, and Caesar, three slaves who seek freedom from Southern plantations via the Underground Railroad, to actors who are relatively new to American audiences.  Mbedu may not be very well known to American audiences right now, but she is already a bona fide star in South Africa. Although she only began acting four years ago, when Mbedu stars in The Underground Railroad she’ll make history. The 27-year-old spent the past year starring on one of South Africa’s most popular television series, a soap opera called Generations: The Legacy, and also scored two International Emmy Award nominations for portraying a young woman named Winnie on Is’thunzi, a teen drama series for the country’s Mzansi Magic channel.

SOURCES: W MAGAZINE

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