Netflix’s availability to people across the world has allowed for numerous TV shows and films on the subscription-based streaming service to be widely viewed. The multiple award-winning TV series, House of Cards, the Oscar award-nominated drama film, Roma (2018), and the documentary film Icarus (2017) which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, are some of the projects on the platform to have become very successful. In this same light, the crime drama series, Queen Sono, has been touted as a revolutionary project for the African movies and television industry, with actress Pearl Thusi receiving all the praise for her performance in the platform’s first African original series.
But while nothing should be taken away from the brilliance of the crime drama show created by Kagiso Lediga, there are a lot of other projects that featured the South African actress which could have become very successful if they were backed by such a big entertainment distribution company.
Other Noteworthy Movies and TV Shows Pearl Thusi Has Featured In
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
The very first time Pearl Thusi was seen on screen was in the comedy-drama television series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, in 2009. Based on a series of novels of the same name by British-Zimbabwean writer, Alexander McCall Smith, the show tells the story of a detective agency opened by Mma Ramotswe (Grammy Award-winning American singer and actress Jill Scott) and her courtship with a mechanic named Mr. JLB Matekoni (British-Tanzanian actor Lucian Msamati).
Thusi played the role of Patricia Kopong on the show that was produced by the BBC in conjunction with HBO. She featured in the episode titled “Beauty and Integrity”. The series received positive and won a Peabody Award in 2010 but was unfortunately canceled after just one season.
In 2013, after having appeared in a few other projects that helped her hone her craft, Pearl Thusi landed the role of Palesa Motaung on the long-running South African soap opera, Isidingo. The series premiered on SABC 3 in July 1998 with the title, Isidingo: The Need. From 2001, however, it simply went by the name Isidingo, running until March 2020 when the final episode was broadcast. Isidingo was created by Gray Hofmeyr and it was loosely based on another popular soap opera created by him during the apartheid era. The show follows the activities of the people that live in and around the mining town of Horizon Deep.
What makes Isidingo a noteworthy project of Ms. Thusi is the fact that it entered the history books by becoming the first South African TV show to feature a gay kiss on TV and the first to screen a gay wedding. The latter achievement happened in 2006, just days after same-sex marriage was legalized in the country.
Kalushi is a 2016 South African drama thriller film that is based on the true story of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, a hawker from Mamelodi whose sacrifice immortalizes him into a hero of the struggle and a national icon of the youth. The plot tells his story; how he is brutally beaten by police and goes into exile following the 1976 Soweto uprisings. He then joins the liberation movement, receives military training in Angola before returning back to Johannesburg, South Africa where he and his accomplices were supposed to carry out a mission. Things end up going sideways for them as his comrade loses control and shoots two innocent people. The duo are later arrested and Kalushi is made to stand trial for murder under the common purpose doctrine. He was found guilty and hanged.
Pearl Thusi plays the role of Brenda Riviera in the movie that received a SAFTA Golden Horn Best Feature Film nomination.
Before Queen Sono, the American thriller drama television series Quantico was the project that announced Pearl Thusi to a worldwide audience. Starring actress Priyanka Chopra, the story follows her character Alex Parrish who graduates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy to join the FBI but becomes a prime suspect in a terrorist attack on Grand Central Terminal.
In 2016, Thusi joined the cast of the show for the second season where she played the main role of Dayana Mampasi, an attorney and new CIA recruit. Following the renewal of the third season, it was reported that the South African actress’s character among a few others would leave the series as part of a creative overhaul. Quantico ended up lasting for three seasons before it was canceled. While on air, it received positive reviews from critics, with praise given for the diversity of the cast.
While still appearing in Quantico, Pearl Thusi landed a role in the romantic drama movie, Catching Feelings. The film tells the story of a young couple; a suave academic and his beautiful wife, whose lives get turned upside down when a celebrated and self-indulgent older writer moves into their home with them. Cathing Feelings received favorable reviews from critics following its premiere at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2017. About a year later, it became available to stream worldwide on Netflix.
This film was the first time Thusi got to work with actor and filmmaker Kagiso Lediga, who starred as well as directed and wrote the project. The pair would later collaborate on Queen Sono which he created and serves as executive producer of.
Read Also: Top 10 Greatest Movies Made In South Africa
The Scorpion King: Book of Souls
The Scorpion King: Book of Souls is another noteworthy Pearl Thusi project as it is the final installment of the five movies in The Scorpion King film series created by Stephen Sommers. The film takes place in ancient Egypt where King Memtep makes a covenant with the lord of the underworld, Anubis, to create a cursed sword is so powerful that it makes whoever possesses it the ruler of the world. The sword takes the souls of those it kills while their names are forever written in the Book of Souls.
Thusi plays the role of Tala, a warrior princess from Nubia whose father, Balthazar, is King. Other actors who appear in the movie are Peter Mensah, Peter Charles, and Zach McGowan.