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Veteran South African Actress Thembi Mtshali-Jones Will Receive the 'Living Legends' Award

The award will be presented to her at the 2019 National Theater Festival in North Carolina this week.

Thembi Mtshali-Jones is a South African actress, playwright and singer whose near five-decade long career has seen her grace both local and international stages. From particularly humble beginnings to acting alongside some of the world's most talented actors and actresses, Mtshali-Jones is undeniably deserving of the "Living Legends" Award she will be receiving abroad at the National Theater Festival in North Carolina this week. The award recognizes her lifelong contribution to the performing arts.


The South African actress, now 70, started off as a domestic worker in the city of Durban while she tried to secure any acting gigs that came her way. In 1972, the equally legendary South African poet, Gcina Mhlophe, introduced Mtshali-Jones to the industry. Since then, she's become a household name and has gone on to perform in New York with the cast of Ipi Ntombi, starred in the local television series Stokvel, M-Net's soccer drama League of Glory, local drama series Scandal! and The Queen, among several others.

Back in 2009 and 2015, Mtshali-Jones received the Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented by the City of Durban and the Arts and Culture Trust respectively.

Speaking about the award she will be receiving soon, Mtshali-Jones said that, "Looking back at the work that I have done to date and receiving these coveted awards, they all point to the longevity I have achieved in my career and are signs of God's breath of life on my journey in this business." She went on to add that, "It is really about how far you can go and how far you can take your talent, and I am therefore proof that you can take it as far as you want to."

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Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP) (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP via Getty Images

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