The Rise Of South African Talent In Hollywood


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Their unique stories, diverse perspectives, and undeniable talent have propelled them to prominence on the global stage, solidifying their place in the heart of the entertainment capital. 

1. Lloyiso

Lloyiso Gijana, a talented South African artist, began singing at church and school events. 

He gained recognition by reaching the top 5 on Idols South Africa at 16. Lloyiso’s hard work paid off when he became the first South African artist to sign with Republic Records in 2021, a label known for its roster of famous artists. 

He later performed at Brooklyn and Nicola Peltz Beckham’s wedding. Currently, Lloyiso is working on writing an album and aims to create unique music that reflects his ambition to become the biggest artist in the world.

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2. Kim Suzanne Engelbrecht

Kim Suzanne Engelbrecht is a South African actress who has gained recognition in Hollywood. 

She started her career in South Africa before making her mark internationally. She appeared in the film “Rogue” (2020) alongside Megan Fox, and her performance received positive reviews. Engelbrecht also joined the cast of the television series “The Flash” in 2017, playing the character “The Mechanic.” 

3. Arnold Vosloo

Arnold Vosloo is a South African actor known for his role as Imhotep in “The Mummy” films. His portrayal of the character earned him international recognition. 

Vosloo has also appeared in movies like “Hard Target,” “Blood Diamond,” and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” He has made television appearances in shows like “24” and “G.I. Joe: Renegades.”

4. Thuso Mbedu

Thuso Mbedu is a South African actress who has gained attention in Hollywood

She became known for her role in the TV series “Is’Thunzi” and received international acclaim, including two Emmy nominations. In 2021, she starred in the series “The Underground Railroad,” directed by Barry Jenkins. 

Her performance garnered widespread praise, solidifying her as a rising star. Mbedu has since been cast in notable projects like “The Woman King”. Her success highlights the growing presence of African actors in the global entertainment industry.

5. John Kani

John Kani, a prominent South African actor, playwright, and director, has made a significant impact in Hollywood. 

He gained recognition for his involvement in the anti-apartheid movement and co-founding the Serpent Players theater group. His breakthrough came with the play “Sizwe Banzi Is Dead” in 1985, earning him awards and acclaim. In recent years, Kani has expanded his presence in Hollywood, notably appearing as T’Chaka in Marvel films like “Captain America: Civil War” and “Black Panther.” 

He also voiced Rafiki in “The Lion King” (2019) and appeared in other productions like “The Island” and “Murder Mystery.” Kani’s success showcases his talent, promotes African stories, and represents diversity in the entertainment industry.

6. Lesley Ann Brandt

Lesley-Ann Brandt is a South African actress who has made a significant impact in Hollywood. She gained recognition for her role as Maze in the popular TV series “Lucifer,” which helped propel her career. Brandt’s portrayal of Maze showcased her versatility and garnered critical acclaim. 

She has also appeared in other notable TV shows and films such as “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” and “Gotham.” In addition to her acting success, Brandt is known for her advocacy work, particularly in raising awareness for mental health. She has become an inspiration for aspiring actors and continues to make waves in the industry.

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7. Oliver Hermanus

Oliver Hermanus is a South African filmmaker who has gained recognition in Hollywood. His debut film, “Shirley Adams” (2009), and subsequent films like “Beauty” (2011), “The Endless River” (2015), and “Moffie” (2019) have garnered critical acclaim and international attention. 

Hermanus is known for his distinct storytelling style and for tackling complex social issues. His work has helped put South African cinema on the global map and highlights the growing recognition of diverse filmmakers in the industry.

8. Nomzamo Mbatha

Nomzamo Mbatha is a South African actress who has gained recognition in Hollywood. She became popular through her work in the South African soap opera “Isibaya.” Mbatha made her feature film debut in “Tell Me Sweet Something” and continued to star in local films. 

She transitioned to Hollywood with her role as Shanti in Jon Favreau’s “The Jungle Book.” Mbatha’s breakthrough came with her role in the sequel “Coming 2 America,” alongside Eddie Murphy. 

She is known for her philanthropic work and advocacy. Mbatha’s talent and dedication have made her a prominent figure in the entertainment industry, both in South Africa and internationally.

9. Sasha Pieterse

Sasha Pieterse is a South African-born actress who has gained recognition in Hollywood. She rose to prominence for her role as Alison DiLaurentis in the TV series “Pretty Little Liars.” 

Pieterse has appeared in films, participated in “Dancing with the Stars,” and made guest appearances on various TV shows. She is also involved in music, philanthropy, and activism. With her talent and versatility, Pieterse continues to make waves in the entertainment industry.

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10. Nozipho McLean

South African actress Nozipho McLean has made a notable impact in Hollywood. After completing her education in Portugal and studying psychology in South Africa, she pursued acting in New York. 

Following her graduation from the New York Film Academy, McLean moved to Hollywood and has since appeared in several US TV shows, including Divorce, Madam Secretary, and Bull. Her career took a significant step forward when she landed a recurring role in the fourth season of the popular series Westworld, playing Uwade, the wife of actor Aaron Paul’s character. 

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Hello!, I am Unaswi, a passionate content writer/ developer. With a background of being a content developer, strategist and a copywriter, she holds the skills to be a team player and flexible in any given working situation. Unaswi is not only a writer, she is a dancer and an acting coach.


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