Hollywood Actresses Who Are Actually Africans

Hollywood Actresses Who Are Actually Africans

#1. Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Amondi Nyong’o is a Mexican-Kenyan actress and film director. She was born in Mexico, but was raised in Kenya. She attended college in the United States, graduating from Hampshire College with a bachelor’s degree in film and theater studies [Source: wikipedia].



2014 – Academy Award For Best Actress In a Supporting Role : 12 Years a Slave

2014 – Screen Actors Guild Award For Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role :  12 Years a Slave

2014 – Independent Spirit Award For Best Supporting Female : 12 Years a Slave

2014 – NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture :  12 Years a Slave

2014 – Critics’Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress : 12 Years a Slave

2014 – BET Award for Best Actress : 12 Years a Slave

2014 – Glamour Award for Woman of the Year

2014 – MTV Africa Music Awards – Personality of the Year

Lupita Nyong'o_awards

#2. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is a South African and American actress, producer and fashion model. She starred in early films in the late 1990s, such as The Devil’s Advocate, Mighty Joe Young and The Cider House Rules [Source: Wikipedia].



2012 – Teen Choice Award – Choice Movie Hissy Fit : Snow White & the Huntsman

2011 – Palm Springs International Film Festival – Chairman’s Vanguard Award : Young Adult

2005 –  Women Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress – North Country

2005 – Women Film Critics Awards  Best Female Images In a Movie – North Country

 2003 – Academy Award Best Actress : Monster

2003 – Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award Best Actress : Monster

2003 – Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Actress : Monster

2003 –  Dallas – Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award Best Actress : Monster

2003 – Critics’ Choice Movie Award Best Actress : Monster

2003 –  Las Vegas Film Critics Association Award Best Actress : Monster

2003 – Golden Globe Award – Best Actress Motion Picture Drama : Monster

2003 –  Independent Spirit Award – Best Female Lead : Monster

2003 – National Board of Review – Best Breakthrough  Performance by an Actress : Monster

2003 – National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actress : Monster

2003 – Screen Actor Guild Award – Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role : Monster 

1999 – Bambi Award Shooting Star Female : The Cider House Rules



#3. Sophie Okonedo

Okonedo was born in London, the daughter of Joan (née Allman), a pilates teacher, and Henry Okonedo (1939–2009), who worked for the government. Her father was Nigerian, and her mother, an Ashkenazi Jew, was born in the East End. Okonedo’s maternal grandparents, who spoke Yiddish, were from families that emigrated from Poland and Russia. Okonedo was brought up in her mother’s Jewish faith. When she was five years old, her father left the family, and she was brought up in relative poverty by her single mother (“but we always had books”, she has said) [Source: Wikipedia].



2014 – Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play : A Raisin in the Sun

2008 – Hollywood Film Festival Awards – Ensemble Acting of the Year : The Secret Life Of Bees

2007 – Image Awards – Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie / Mini – Series : Tsunami ; The Aftermath

2005 – Black Reel Awards – Best Actress Drama : Hotel Rwanda


#4. Benu Mabhena

The determined actress — whose last name (Mabhena) represents a totem for cheetah that translates in Zulu as “speed” — spent most of her life on the run, living in exile. Benu’s family roots are with the Ndebele Tribe and their heritage stems from the Zulu. Her parents and five brothers were born in Zimbabwe, while younger Benu and her sister hail from London. After spending four years in London, the family traveled back to Zimbabwe, where they stayed for two years. Then, they went to Botswana for a year; South Africa for several years; then back to Botswana; back again to South Africa, and on to Lesotho. Finally, the US government granted the family asylum, and they settled in San Francisco, where Benu spent her teenage years [Source: Wikipedia].


Best Known in:

2006 Blood Diamond


#5. Chipo Chung

Chipo Chung was born as a refugee in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is half-Zimbabwean and half-Chinese. Her given name Chipo means “gift” in the Shona language. She spent her first two years in refugee camps in Mozambique with thousands of young people who were escaping the war in then-Rhodesia. Her mother is Fay Chung. Her father is Rugare Gumbo, a long time member of the Zimbabwean government.Chipo was raised in Harare where she attended Dominican Convent High School and developed her acting with the mixed-race theatre company Over the Edge. At eighteen, she moved to the United States where her mother Fay Chung was working for the United Nations. She studied at Yale University and graduated cum laude with a double major in Theatre Studies and Fine Art [Source: Wikipedia].


Best Known in:

Fortitude 2015

In the Loop 2009

The Last Enemy 2008

Doctor Who 2007 -2008

Sunshine 2007

Proof 2005


#6. Liya Kebede

Liya Kebede (Amharic: ሊያ ከበደ?; born 1 March 1978) is an Ethiopian-born model, maternal health advocate, clothing designer and actress who has appeared three times on the cover of US Vogue. According to Forbes, she was the eleventh-highest-paid top model in the world in 2007. Since 2005, Kebede has served as the WHO’s Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health [Source : Wikipedia].



In 2013, Kebede was named one of Glamour (magazine)’s Women of the Year for her philanthropic work through her Liya Kebede Foundation

Best Known in:

The Best Offer 2013

Sur la Piste du Marsupilami 2012

Black Gold 2011

Desert Flower 2009

The Good Shepherd  2006

Lord of War  2005


#7. Rachel Mwanza

Rachel Mwanza is an actress from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, best known for her performance as Komona in the 2012 film Rebelle (War Witch).Born in 1997 and abandoned by her parents as a child, Mwanza spent several years living as a street child in Kinshasa before being cast in Rebelle. She was cast in the film after director Kim Nguyen and producers Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin saw her in a documentary film on the street kids of Kinshasa. Due to her lack of education, she did not know how to read or write when she was first cast in the film; the filmmakers have since made arrangements to pay for her education and housing until she turns 18. In February 2013 she was granted a visa to allow her to attend the Academy Awards [Source: Wikipedia].



2013 –  Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actress in Leading Role : War Witch

2012 – Tribeca Film Festival Award for Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film : War Witch


#8. Leleti Khumalo

Leleti Khumalo (born 1970) is a Zulu South African actress who is famous for her leading role in the movie and stage play Sarafina. She is also famous for starring in other films such as Hotel Rwanda and Yesterday [Source: Wikipedia].


Best Known in:

Winnie Mandela  2011

Invictus 2009

Faith’s Corner 2005

Hotel Rwanda 2004

Yesterday 2004

Cry, the Beloved Country 1995

Sarafina! 1992

Voices of Sarafina! 1988


#9. Carmen Elizabeth Ejogo

Born and raised in London, Ejogo is the daughter of Elizabeth (née Douglas) and Charles Ejogo. Her father is Nigerian and her mother is Scottish.During her childhood, Ejogo remembers her mother as being “a bit of a hippie”. Her younger brother is also named Charles Ejogo.She attended the Oratory Primary Roman Catholic primary school in Chelsea until 1984.Ejogo was briefly married to trip-hop artist Tricky in 1998.She married American actor Jeffrey Wright, whom she met while they were making the HBO film Boycott, in 2000. They have since divorced.Ejogo lives in Brooklyn, New York,along with her two children with Wright[Source: Wikipedia].


Best Known in:

The Purge: Anarchy 2014

Selma 2014

Alex Cross 2012

Sparkle 2012

Away We Go 2009

What’s the Worst That Could Happen? 2001


#10. Danai Gurira

Gurira was born in Grinnell, Iowa to Josephine Gurira, a university librarian mother, and Roger Gurira, a chemistry professor father. Gurira lived in Grinnell until December 1983, when she was 5 years old, and the family moved back to Harare, Zimbabwe after Zimbabwe gained independence. Gurira sees her parents as part of a generation of Africans “that first came here in the ’60s, like my parents. Like Barack Obama’s father, who came here in the ’60s from Kenya, from Zimbabwe, from those countries that were still in colonization. “But I have parents who were here from the ’60s to the ’80s, and my entire life I grew up with a picture of Martin Luther King on the mantelpiece (laughter) that he signed for my mother in Zimbabwe.”[Source: Wikipedia]


Best Known In:

2012 – Present  The Walking Dead

2013 Mother of George

2007 The Visitor

Work & Publication:

2001 Gurira Danai – Running Head: The Neglect of Black Women in Psychology


#11. Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Mbatha-Raw was born in Oxford, England.[citation needed] Her surname is made up of both her parents’ and her first name is the shortened version of ‘Gugulethu’, a contraction of igugu lethu that means ‘Our Treasure’ in Zulu. Her mother, Anne Raw, is an English nurse, and her father, Patrick Mbatha, is a doctor originally from the Republic of South Africa. Her father is black and her mother is white. Mbatha-Raw grew up in the small town of Witney in Oxfordshire, and attended The Henry Box School, before moving to London to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2001 [Source: Wikipedia].



2015 – Black Reel Awards – Outstanding Actress : Belle

2015 – Black Reel Awards – Outstanding Actress : Beyond the Lights

2014 – African – American Film Critics Association Awards – Best Actress : Belle

2014 – Alliance of Women Film Journalists – Best Breakthrough Performance : Belle

2014 – British Independent Film Awards – Best Actress : Belle

2014 – Capri, Hollywood – Capri Rising Star Award : Beyond the Lights

2014 – Chicago International Film Festival – Emerging Artist Award : Beyond the Lights 





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