Nondumiso Tembe, who plays the role of Susan, the young assistant lawyer who becomes the lynchpin in David Mamet's controversial play, RACE, which forms part of the South African offering at this years Edinburgh Festival, speaks to us about being a South African living in Los Angeles and about the importance of arts and culture in bringing people together and sharing South African stories and culture with the world.
Born in Durban, South Africa, the multi-talented and multi-lingual actress, singer/songwriter and dancer spent her formative years, from three to ten years of age, in New York City. The family returned home to South Africa when Nondumiso was 10 years old, at the end of Apartheid.
The award-winning actress/singer is most widely known for her emotionally intense portrayal of tragic Creole maid, Mavis, in the Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning hit HBO show "TRUE BLOOD." She has also appeared on popular CBS series "NCIS: LA" with LL Cool J as well as America’s number 1 hit TV show "NCIS" with Mark Harmon. Within a year of releasing her highly anticipated debut album "IZWI LAMI; My Voice" in January 2011, Nondumiso received major acclaim in the Southern African music industry, winning a 2011 MetroFM Music Award for Best Music Video ("Just A Guy"), also receiving a nomination for Best Female Album as well as a nomination for her first South African Traditional Music Award (SATMA) in the Best EthnoSoul Artist category.
Nondumiso Tembe has a string of impressive qualifications that have prepared her for a meaningful, diverse and long career in the Performing Arts, including, among others, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and Political Science with a focus on Africa from New York’s New School University, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the famed Yale School of Drama, which only accepts 16 students per year, out of hundreds who audition from all over the world. It is believed that Nondumiso is possibly the only South African actress to graduate from this prestigious school. She also spent a summer studying classical theatre at the British American Dramatic Academy at the illustrious Oxford University in England and has studied Ballet and African dance for over 10 years, namely at the distinguished Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Djoniba African Dance and Drum Center in New York City.