A 32 year old multi-awards winner South African actress is deeply rooted to her African spirituality which helped her through her journey in the film industry as a creative, writer, director and producer.
Talking to UniQ Magazine, she unapologetically stated that Africans were the richest nation before colonialism.
“I am all about going back to the truth of who we were before colonialism so in as far our knowledge system that we had before. We had very highly advanced astronomy, science and medicine, we had fully established civilization and that`s who we were, where we celebrated ourselves and all that is connected to our spirituality and our Africanisms.”
She further said African knowledge systems, African spirituality and spiritual science are the three things that inform her work, mostly filmmaking. Afro- Featurism work is what interest her the most when she is writing, which is informed by African spirituality.
Growing up in one of the historical towns of the KZN Province-Ladysmith, has aided and shaped Thishiwe to become the person she is today. She grew up in a religious family and carried her family teachings with her when she was experiencing the outside world at the age of 18. Her mother was the very first who taught her about love and gave her love. Loving yourself, loving your neighbour while giving towards others and making vigorous contributions to the world are the most fundamentals in Thishiwe’s life.
“African spirituality is very important for me, therefore I would never shy away from correcting the wrongs that were imposed to us by Westerners who manipulated our tradition and culture to only benefit white people for their own colonialism and patriarchal reasons. I have always felt that Africa should be a leader in the mystical narrative because that is the heart of our philosophy.”
The seasoned writer who have officially joined the film industry in 2011 as an actor, has recently proved her passion and desire to educate the society about the realness of Africanism through her debut self-produced series that has hit South African screens in July on SABC 1, called ‘Emoyeni’.
Emoyeni is a four-part mystical television mini-series where the spirit realm directly interacts with the ordinary world. It consists of four stand-alone films where troubled individuals undergo other worldly experiences that defy logic and propel them towards major transformation.
Thishiwe is best known for her role in the 2014 action romance, Hard to Get, available on Netflix. For this performance, she holds three prestigious Best Actress awards. She also holds a Best Supporting Actress award for the box office success, Tell Me Sweet Something (2015). The actress made her professional début in 2011 with the award-winning arthouse, Man on Ground, an official selection at the Toronto, Berlin and Dubai international film festivals, amongst others.
Thishiwe has graced the small screen with leading roles in hit television shows such as The Imposter, It’s Complicated, INumber Number, and Rhythm City.
She earned her stripes at the New York Film Academy, graduating in the Acting for Film course. She studied Scriptwriting and Directing at AFDA School of Motion Picture, and Producing at Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking. She was also schooled in African Spiritual Science at the Kara Heritage Institute.
Her ‘man on ground’ first and leading role was her big break that everyone talks about, it opened doors to the world, helped her embrace and discover herself. She was working alongside with likes of Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Fana Mokoena and Fabian Adeoye Lojede to name the few. From there she had to travel the world to places like Dubai Toronto – a dream come true.
She says being exposed to the behind the scene as a producer has taught her many things including the politics that cause instability within the South African TV and Film industry.
Looking beyond what Thishiwe is currently busy with, she has many projects in a pipeline that promises to blow away the South African film industry. She has been working on local films and drama series that she hopes to shoot by next year provided she gets funding for her projects. Watch the space as she addresses the concept of “Womaness” in one of her pipelined films, while she is intending to explore more international films.