South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha speaks on her role as Mirembe in 'Coming 2 America', the power of comedy and experiencing pure joy with the entire cast being dressed in South African luxury brand, Maxhosa.
Coming 2 America premiered last Friday on Amazon Prime, and several cinemas on the continent including South Africa and Nigeria, and there was much excitement around the highly-anticipated sequel. Starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Jennifer Sears—members of the original cast—the film also had a cameo appearance from Davido and saw the only South African actress on set, Nomzamo Mbatha, in her breakout international role.
While it had all the excitement and fanfare of Black Panther, there have admittedly been some mixed reviews from South Africans on social media since the premiere. Chief among the skepticism were the dated "African accents" used by the characters in the film and more especially with regards to Mbatha, in her portrayal of Mirembe, the royal groomer. Times have certainly changed in the three decades since the first film premiered and social media didn't exist either. However, to be fair, these accents have not actually changed from the first film—just the awareness around them.
Nonetheless, this is Mbatha's first international role alongside a multitude of acting veterans. The South African actress has previously starred in local films including Tell Me Sweet Something (2015), All About Love (2017) and The Jakes are Missing (2015) and is an active humanitarian with her work with the Nomzamo Lighthouse Foundation in addition to being a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR as from 2019.
Ahead of the premiere of Coming 2 America, we caught up with her from Los Angeles to speak about her breakout international role, what this opportunity means for her professionally, having famed costume designer Ruth Carter dress the entire cast in South African luxury brand Maxhosa, and the power of comedy in society.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.