Tinah Mnumzana Biography: Who Is the South African Actress?

The first thing that comes to the mind of people in relation to the delectable and talented Tinah Mnumzana is that she is a veteran South African actress who through ups and downs, has remained relevant in Mzansi. However, she is much more than that; she is also a teacher, motivational speaker, poet, and acting coach. She is equally a preacher and musician.

Mostly recognized in the entertainment circle for her roles in works such as Scandal! and Saints and Sinners, she has enjoyed a career that has spanned many decades and has so much to show. Beyond the symbol of success and inspiration to many that she now portrays, she has had a long journey that is mixed with both beauty and pain.

Profile of Tinah Mnumzana

  • Full Name: Tinah Arcia Mnumzana
  • Date of Birth: October 6, 1967
  • Age: 54 years old
  • Nationality: South African
  • Education: Gibson Kente School, Dube, Soweto
  • Occupation: Actress, preacher, teacher
  • Years Active: Late 1980s to date
  • Net Worth: $100,000

The Troubled Beginnings And Early Life Of Tinah Mnumzana

The famous thespian was born Tinah Arcia Mnumzana in her home country of South Africa on October 6, 1967. It is believed that she was also brought up in South Africa, although information, as regards her childhood and family, have all been kept away from the public domain, except for a few things known in relation to her training as an actress.

The actress has made a few brief mentions of her mother in her various interviews, but she has never stated anything about her father. Hence, it is still not clear if he was involved in her early life and upbringing. More so, she has not made any revelations about her siblings.

As regards her education, it is no secret that she is a product of Gibson Kente School in Dube, Soweto. It is because of this that she became a member of the group known as Together Folk which in 2021 came together to honor the “father of black theatre”, Gibson Kente. The group which got its name from Gibson himself is made of some famous directors and TV stars.

She joined MOHOPE Productions in 1998 as an Artistic Director and by 2015, she became the director of the company.

She Is A Survivor Of Sexual Abuse

The Isidingo star is known for her very strong demeanor and positive personality. Beneath all these is a very troubled past that seemed to be on a replay at various times in her life. According to her, she was forced to bear many emotional wounds when she was growing up, although she has been on the path to total healing. The actress revealed that she has been a victim of rape in four separate encounters.

The first time that she was sexually abused, she was only a girl of 10 years old. She revealed that she was raped by an older family member whose name she did not disclose. However, because she was ashamed to let anyone know, she kept the incident hidden. Three years later when she was 13, she would become a victim of rape for the second time when yet another family member raped her. Like the first time, she did not tell anyone. This was not the end of her ordeal; the Scandal actress revealed that she was raped two more times later in her life by someone that she was involved with intimately.

By 1993 when she was a teacher, Tinah Mnumzana was thinking she was already out of the woods and her past was behind her, but that was not to be. She was attacked by a stranger when she was about to enter the school premises and the person tried to rape her. Fortunately, other teachers and students who heard her scream came to her rescue.

She got to heal emotionally, but that was only with the help of her close friend Pamela Nomvete who assisted her in finding peace again. She revealed that she no longer holds any grudge against anyone. However, she has taken it upon herself to become an advocate against rape and gender-based violence. She has taken part in many activities and has spoken on various stages, including before the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ & CD) in South Africa on these causes.

She Is A Woman Of Many Talents

Looking at the career life of Tinah Mnumzana, it is clear that she is among the many South Africans that are blessed with more talents than just a couple. She started her career as a school teacher in the 1990s. She continued this career path even after her career as an actress took a turn for the best. Bringing together both passions, Tinah became an acting coach and she teaches the art.

Like most other actors, it was on stage that Tinah Mnumzana first breathed serious life into her profession as an actress. She was said to have worked with some big names in the theatre, including Martin Koboekae, Jerry Mofokeng, and Arthur Molepo, among many other big authors and directors. Today, she has moved beyond just being a stage actress to also work as a theatre director, as well as a TV and film actress.

Another thing that adds some good padding to the resume of Tinah is her career as a motivational speaker and a life coach. She taps from all the personal experiences she has gotten from the stables of life itself to encourage people in their life journey, motivate them, and help them through difficult situations. Mnumzana is a poet whose genre is gospel poetry.

Here is a list of Tinah’s careers:

  • Actress
  • Theatre director
  • Motivational speaker
  • Teacher
  • Acting coach
  • Poet
  • Preacher

Tinah Mnumzana Has Appeared In Some Of The Biggest Films And TV Productions In South Africa

More than for any other thing she is involved in, Tinah is now known as an actress. She has appeared in some important productions in the country, which has now turned her into a household name. The actress has gathered close to 4 decades of acting experience under her belt and one of her earliest appearances was in the 1994 TV series, Soul City. Before this, her roots in acting were traced to 1987 when she first joined the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS).

Since then, she has come to make appearances in some of the most followed shows in South Africa, including the first Season of Isidingo, playing the role of Florence. Scandal! is yet another popular TV show that she took part in, playing Constance in the first season of the e.TV show. A bigger role than all others is her portrayal of Flora in The River. Apart from the aforementioned roles, here are other known films and TV shows that the actress has been a part of thus far:

  • Gold Diggers (2016 – 2017)
  • Black Sails (2017)
  • Hatchet Hour (2016)
  • Dora’s Peace (2016)
  • Ashes to Ashes (2015-2016)
  • Machine Gun Preacher (2011)
  • State of Violence (2010)
  • Mrs. Mandela (2010)
  • The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (2009)
  • Jozi-H (2006)
  • ER (2006)
  • Yesterday (2004)
  • Beat the Drum (2003)

Her Only Awards Are For Theatre Productions

The saying that Awards are not the true definition of talent and achievements can never be more true than in the case of the veteran actress. Although she has appeared in many good productions on screen and has held the country spell-bound with some of her performances, it is still quite surprising that Tinah Mnumzana does not have any known awards or nominations to show for all her efforts.

In 2019, 1Magic’s production, The River, which she was a part of, got international recognition when it clinched an International Emmy Awards nomination. The soapie was nominated in the category of Best Telenova. The show also won many awards at different South African Film and Television Awards, but the actress did not manage to take home any.

With that said, where she has gained notice is in the theatre where she was recognized with an FNB Vita Award Nomination for her role in Maru in the Best Supporting Actor category. She won the award for her roles in The Diary and Dance Kopano.

Even without many awards, she still stands as one of the most acclaimed actresses in South Africa whose talent is easily noticed and appreciated by many. In spite of the many ill-lucks that came her way both in her personal life and professionally, she has still sustained in the entertainment industry for a very long time. More so, Tinah Mnumzana has also been appreciated by many young actors, including Limpopo Boy for her help in their careers as actors.

Tinah Mnumzana Was Married For Only Three Years

Mnumzana’s love life also mirrors the struggles of all other aspects of her life. The actress met and fell in love with a man whose name she did not reveal sometime between the late 1980s and the early 1990s. They dated and remained in love for a number of years and then in 1992, Tinah and her man tied the knot.

The marriage which at first seemed like something that would last a long time, came to a sad end only three years later when they walked their separate paths in divorce. She did not reveal the exact reasons why the marriage ended but indicated that there were things that she got to know about the marriage from her dreams and spiritual messages. Tinah did not give any details as regards the dreams and messages because she stated that they were too personal to share. Nonetheless, she suggested that she lost her marriage because of a spiritual calling she refused to heed early enough.

The actress is a mother of two kids, a daughter Nonkululeko and a son, Bokang. Details about their birth and who their father may be, have not been revealed. It is only known that the kids are 7 years apart with Bokang being the younger. The actress and her kids live in Johannesburg. There is nothing to suggest that either of her kids is taking after her in the entertainment industry. She has done an excellent job in keeping her children away from the media as information about them is not very much available in the public domain.

Acting Did Not Get Tinah Mnumzana Off Financial Woes

Tinah Mnumzana
Tinah Mnumzana (Image Source)

At the moment, the net worth of Tinah is put in the range of $100,000. While it may be quite impressive, she has not enjoyed such high numbers for a long time and currently doesn’t rank among the richest actresses in South Africa. This is because even after she started her career and became famous, the celebrated actress still had many financial challenges that left her homeless and almost completely broke at a point.

The peak of her financial travails came sometime in 2003 at a time when she was still struggling to raise her kids as a single mother and also taking part in Isidingo. The actress got a house in Xavier Reef and she continued paying for the property until 2005 when she could no longer pay because jobs were no longer coming and she later lost her role in the popular TV show, Isidingo. Because of this, the house was taken from her and she had no roof to call her own, and there was nowhere for her kids to put their heads. Things got so bad for her that her son could no longer go to school. She sent him to live with her aunt until she could figure things out while her daughter who was studying at Wits remained there.

The financial difficulties of the actress were, according to her, not because of normal situations. She was told for many years before the time that she was called not only to act but also to serve as a preacher. The first time that pastors and prophets told her that she had a calling was back in 1992, but she did not heed to the calling. It was this failure that made various things in her life very difficult. In 2016, she gave in and was ordained a preacher.

While her financial life did not pick up immediately, she made it clear that she was still enriched in her spiritual life. After her ordination, she began getting acting roles, including in the American adventure series, Black Sails.

Today, Tinah Mnumzana makes her fortune from her combined efforts as a poet, motivational speaker, and acting coach. Her acting career still remains the major contributor to her net worth. What she receives for most of her roles is not known, but there are reports that she is among the lowest-paid actresses for her role of Flora which only earns her a salary of between R18,000 and R25,000 monthly.

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