Blessed with a thrilling combination of smooth acting talent and incredibly charming looks, Nyalleng Thibedi is a South African actress who has proven her worth onscreen with her scintillating role-interpreting skills and has won so many fans for herself in the process. She has starred in different highly-talked about movies and series in South Africa since her career picked up, and has become a favorite of movie lovers in the country.
Apart from her acting talent, Nyalleng Thibedi is also admired for her boldness in speaking out against domestic violence. The actress has severally admonished women of all ages to stand up and be fearless in the face of abuse. The actress has tasked women who are abused in relationships to seek their voices and find their freedom. Today, she is respected among her many fans for this quality.
Nyalleng Thibedi Was Born In Soweto
Nyalleng Thibedi was born in Soweto, a township of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality in Gauteng, South Africa. It is also in Soweto that she spent her early days growing up. Thibedi’s real age was a subject of debate for some time. In fact, for a long time after she became famous, people were not sure how old the actress really was. However, in 2020, she opened up about her age, revealing that she was 40 years old. Many people were stunned at the revelation because she looked a lot younger than she has always looked. Thibedi, who was born on the 4th of September 1980, is 41 years old at the moment.
Details about her parents’ identities remain a mystery as the actress has not made these known to the public. She has, however, made it very clear that she is very fond of her parents. She explained that her mother is a great motivator who encourages her children to work hard and do great things. She also said her father is a ball of wisdom and that she enjoys listening to him. She also loves catching up with him whenever she is free because the man has established a tradition of taking them on dates. Apparently, theirs is a happy family.
Her Sister Is Also An Industry Stakeholder
Interestingly, Nyalleng Thibedi is not the only one from her family that is active in the entertainment industry. As a matter of fact, she has a sister who is also a stakeholder in the South African movie scene who is also doing very well for herself at the moment.
Thibedi’s sister is Mmamitse Thibedi, an executive producer, creative director, writer, and director who has worked in different high-profile movies and series in South Africa. Over the years, Nyalleng Thibedi and her sister have worked together on projects and they also have a great relationship as siblings.
Thibedi explains that whenever they meet at home, they become sisters but when they meet at movie locations, they maintain a very professional relationship. For this reason, some of their co-stars don’t even know they are sisters. However, Thibedi and her sister are great friends who discuss a lot of things, including acting and life in general whenever they have the time.
Nyalleng Took Drama Lessons As A Kid and Studied Acting In America
Nyalleng Thibedi took interest in acting from when she was a little child. According to her, she used to take drama lessons at the prestigious Funda Arts Centre in Soweto when she was little. During this time, she developed an insatiable love for acting and realized that this was what she wanted to do with her life.
According to her, she got bit by the acting bug while taking drama lessons at the Funda Arts Centre as a child and this influenced the choices she made later in life that eventually saw her becoming an actress of note in South Africa.
After finishing high school, Nyalleng proceeded to university. She attended the University of Cape Town in South Africa where she studied Chemical Engineering. The actress later graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. After bagging her first degree, she started out by doing TV commercials and getting used to the entertainment arena. However, she soon realized that she really needed to get some formal training as an actress.
Upon realizing the need for some formal training, Nyalleng Thibedi decided to go to the United States of America to study acting. When she got to the USA and had registered to study acting, Thibedi did different jobs like cocktail waitressing, cleaning, and others to raise money to pay for her acting classes. But her hard work eventually paid off as she was able to successfully complete her studies and get a lot of experience in the process.
While studying in the USA, she met some important persons, including the world-famous American rapper, record producer, and actor, LL Cool J. She told the story of how she met him on her Instagram page. According to her, she was working as a waitress when she spotted him and was bold enough to approach and ask for a photograph.
While studying in America, Thibedi joined a theatre group and performed with them across New York. She acted in several stage productions and this helped greatly to boost her confidence in her acting talent. Some of the stage productions she appeared in include:
- He’s Always There, a production staged at the Madison Square Garden Theatre
- The Word, a production also staged at the Madison Square Garden Theatre
- Life In Slow Motion, a play staged in New York City
- Making The Right Decision, a play staged at the Madison Square Garden Theatre
- Planning Ahead Lead, a play staged at the Madison Square Garden Theatre
- The Creation, a play staged in New York City
- I Am Who I Am, a play staged at the Madison Square Garden Theatre
The actress spent 6 solid years in the USA studying acting and performing on stage before she returned to South Africa in 2010.
Nyalleng Thibedi Has Starred In High-Profile Productions
When she returned to South Africa in 2010, Nyalleng Thibedi began to audition for roles, but for some time she struggled to land any roles. However, after a while, she started landing them. Initially, she landed some minor supporting roles as she rose gradually in the industry. She was cast to star in the supporting role of Aviwe in Mfolozi Street, a TV series. She then played the role of Slindile in the series, Task Force.
In 2015, she scored the role of Naledi in the first season of the TV series, Mamello. She then landed her first lead role after being cast to play Rose Dlamini in the series, 4 Hours. However, she did not really gain real exposure from these initial gigs.
Her Big Break Came With ‘Ashes To Ashes’
Also, in 2015, Nyalleng Thibedi began to get serious attention when she landed the role of Mpho Rankoane in the popular series, Ashes to Ashes. In the series, she played the role of a victim of domestic abuse who was the wife of one of the characters, Tsietsi Namane. Her very believable acting got a lot of praise from fans of the show.
Nyalleng also starred in Streets Of Mangaung, a series in which she played the role of History Teacher. At this time, she was becoming a well-known face on TV and some critics were referring to her as ‘the new face of the telenovela’.
How Uzalo Made Her More Famous
Even though Nyalleng Thibedi was already finding a lot of attention, her very big break was yet to come. The actress scored one of her biggest roles yet in 2017 when she was cast to play the role of Zekhethelo Mhlongo in Uzalo, a South African soap opera produced by Stained Glass Productions. Interestingly, the creative director of Uzalo is actually Nyalleng Thibedi’s sister, Mamitse Thibedi.
On the show, Nyalleng played the role of the daughter/stepdaughter of a resident baddie and thug, Nkunzi Mhlongo. Thibedi’s portrayal of Zekhethelo Mhlongo was so intriguing that it fetched her lots of attention, pushing her fame beyond new boundaries. It made her a household name in South Africa.
Today, the actress is still very active in the industry and the future surely looks really bright.
Nyalleng Thibedi Is A Businesswoman
Nyalleng Thibedi is not just an actress whose only purpose is to star in movies and series. She is also a businesswoman. The actress is actually the owner of a beauty product. In July 2021, she announced that she had launched her own lip gloss line. With this announcement, the actress joins a long list of celebrities who are making waves with their beauty products.
Thibedi’s lip gloss line is called Princess Nyalleng. The collection includes pink and nude shades. The actress, when unveiling the lip gloss line, took to social media to give fans a glimpse of what to expect.
The Actress Is A Proud Mother
Nyalleng Thibedi is a mother and a proud one at that. The actress has a son whose identity has been carefully concealed. It is not very clear exactly when the boy was born but reports show that he was 9 years old as of 2021. Also, the identity of the boy’s father has been kept a secret. There are no reports on who the boy’s dad is for now.
Despite concealing the boy’s identity, Thibedi is extremely happy to be his mother. According to the actress, being called a ‘mommy’ is what she is most grateful for in life ahead of being called an actress or a celebrity. She has joked about not being able to complete a five-minute conversation without mentioning her child. She also explains that being a mother has taught her to be selfless and love wholeheartedly.
She Suffered Abuse In Her Relationship
Another fact about her life that Nyalleng Thibedi often talks about is that she suffered abuse in a previous relationship. In fact, she is reported to be one of the first few famous faces in South Africa to publicly share that she was an abuse victim. However, she was brave enough to quit the romance with her head held high.
While Thibedi was in America studying, she got into a relationship and this was when she suffered abuse at the hands of her partner. According to her, when the relationship first started, she saw some warning signs in the man that suggested that he may be an abuser but she ignored them. Sharing some light, she explained that one day she was sitting by the Hudson River, a 315-mile river that flows through eastern New York when her boyfriend at the time began to talk about his childhood.
He told her specifically that his father abused his mother when he was a child. In fact, according to him, sometimes when he went into their bathroom, he would find a pool of blood there apparently a sign that his mother had been severely beaten by his father. Thibedi did not reveal the identity of this ex who had badly abused her in the past, but she explained that when he told her of how he had witnessed his father abusing his mother as a child, something stirred in her and warned her to leave but she ignored these warnings.
Eventually, her partner started abusing her as she had suspected he would. She suffered through it for some time before she found the strength to quit and eventually returned to South Africa. The actress, who is now very vocal against abuse in relationships, tells women to pay serious attention and listen to their intuition or conscience and then act on it immediately because often it spots the red light.
She Mirrored Her Abuse History In Her Acting Roles
Having experienced abuse in a relationship before, the actress has used the opportunity to mirror her abuse in some of the roles she has played. In fact, she has often explained that acting has been her therapy while reflecting on her healing journey. Her character, Zekhethelo, in the TV series, Uzalo‚ went through horrific abuse when her mother was willing to prostitute her to the landlord for rent. Also, the character ignored some warning signs just like she had ignored them in real life. Apart from that, her character in the series, Ashes to Ashes also suffered abuse.
Today, the actress reveals that because of her life story and the kind of characters she has played before on camera who went through similar abuse situations, many women now reach out to her for advice on how to handle their own abuse situations. Some of them reach out to her in her DMs while others ask for her advice when they meet her in the streets.