Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
2 minute read
18 May 2021
3:00 pm

‘You have the gift’ – Oprah praises Thuso Mbedu’s acting

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Mbedu is the lead actor in 'The Underground Railroad' now streaming on Amazon.

Thuso Mbedu was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey about the six part series 'The Underground Railroad'. Picture: Screengrab

The Underground Railroad streaming on Amazon has received wide praise from audiences and critics alike.

The director Barry Jenkins’ remake is already receiving recommendations for award show nominations. It is based on the novel of the same name by Colson Whitehead and stars South African actress Thuso Mbedu.

One viewer, Oprah Winfrey, said Mbedu’s acting is the “performance of a lifetime”.


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That big compliment was even said on an interview shared on Oprah Daily. The legendary TV host had a chat with Thuso discussed the character she plays, Cora who escaped her Georgia plantation for the rumoured Underground Railroad.  She discovers the place is not a myth and an actual railroad full of engineers, conductors and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the southern soil.

ALSO READ: Thuso Mbedu makes history with ‘The Underground Railroad’ premiere!

“I have never, ever in this lifetime seen as consistent a performance as you have given in The Underground Railroad. You have the gift, girl,” Oprah said.

Mbedu told Oprah she did a lot of research for the role and the director himself helped her get more information.

“He sent me audio testimonials of former enslaved people. I remember hearing them for the first time and something really shifted in me. They spoke very broken English because they were taught English for instruction, not conversation.”



Mbedu said she enjoyed her conversation with Oprah as it was filled with “joy, laughter and reflection”.
Another export, Trevor Noah, also interviewed the girl of the hour on his The Daily Show and how history documented enslaved people in the US.