Mbedu’s journey to global super-stardom has been long time coming. It all started on the Mzansi Magic’s telonovela ‘Isibaya’ when she played the role of Nosisa in 2014 to now becoming an undisputed international superstar – with two Emmy nominations in tow – playing the larger than life role of a young African American woman Cora in director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning novel ‘The Underground Railroad’ (Amazon).
We are not talking about a small time production here, but a significant achievement described by the UK’s The Guardian “as unbearably bleak, brutal and brilliant as the book”.
The Amazon series follows Cora as she journeys to freedom from slavery in the southeastern United States during the 19th century.
A slave catcher (played by) pursues her as she moves from town to town, away from the Georgia plantation she escaped by literally following an underground railway transport system.
For the South African-born actress, the script was very interesting as it’s relatable and she sees some familiar intergenarational patterns of “systemic oppression” in it. She categorically praises it for giving voice “to the intergenerational trauma, anger, and resentment internalised as a result of living in an African nation that has been oppressed, and then coming to America where systemic oppression is deeply rooted.”
The reality, she tells www.wd.com, “is you can take parts of the book and literally draw parallels to stuff that is happening today”.
*For a selection of branded content hand-picked by NOWinSA editorial team, click here!