Woman of Wonder

Pearl Thusi: taking Africa to the world, one hit show at a time

24 August 2020 - 06:00 By Batandwa Malingo
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Pearl Thusi: breaking through boundaries.
Pearl Thusi: breaking through boundaries.
Image: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100


An international actress, television talk show host, philanthropist, mother of two and best friend to one of Africa's biggest DJs, Pearl Thusi has made it her duty to break boundaries and create a number of “firsts” for African women in the entertainment industry.


She started out as a model but soon her love for television took over as she bagged a small role on The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, an HBO/BBC production which boasted American stars such as Jill Scott. The role might have been minor but it gave the 32-year-old courage to cement herself on the big stage.

Seven years later, she returned to Hollywood bigger and better as she starred as one of the lead characters on the second season of ABC series Quantico in 2017.

This would be Thusi's “booked and busy” year as she hosted MTV's Lip Sync Battle Africa, starred in romantic comedy film Catching Feelings and played Brenda Riviera in Kalushi, a film about the story of anti-apartheid activist Solomon Mahlangu.

The unstoppable actress starred in The Scorpion King: Book of Souls before branching out into talk show hosting in 2018, bagging her first show, Behind The Story on BET Africa. The show is making its comeback for the fourth season this month.

This is not Thusi's only show that will be making a comeback, as her critically acclaimed and Netflix's first African original series, Queen Sono, will be returning for a second season.

Before her international stardom, Thusi starred in and hosted several local productions such as Isidingo, Zone 14, Tropika Island of Treasure, Real Goboza and LIVE Amp.

There is no stopping Pearl Thusi as she rightfully puts in an interview with US publication Essence: “You can either be excited for me or fear me, because I am coming for everything.”


The actress has three names, and that's not including her stage ones — she was born in Durban's kwaNdengezi township as Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi.

Her beauty caught SA rapper Emtee's eye and he wrote the song Pearl Thusi, which became an instant hit in 2016. The song would later be screamed by thousands of fans at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg as Thusi took to the stage on December 2 2018.

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