Terry Pheto as Naledi Khama and Rosamund Pike as Ruth Williams in A United Kingdom
Sisters-in-law: Terry Pheto as Naledi Khama and Rosamund Pike as Ruth Williams in A United Kingdom. (Image: A United Kingdom official trailer)

Actress Terry Pheto continues to fly South Africa's flag internationally, her latest achievement being a British Independent Film Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in A United Kingdom.

Amma Asante's epic film is based on the true story of the love affair that scandalised the British establishment of the 1940s, between Prince Seretse Khama, who went on to become the first president of Botswana, and London office clerk Ruth Williams.

Pheto, who plays the role of Khama's sister Naledi, stole the limelight at the October premiere of the film at the prestigious BFI London Film Festival, where she graced the red carpet in a stunning Marianne Fassler dress.

Sanjeev Singh, director of acquisition and distribution at South African company Videovision Entertainment, congratulated Pheto on her nomination, saying in a statement this week: "The nomination is well deserved as she gives a superb performance as Naledi Khama in the film."

Videovision, through United International Pictures, will release A United Kingdom in South Africa, Botswana and countries in East and West Africa on 9 December.



Based on the Susan Williams novel Colour Bar, the film stars David Oyelowo (Selma) as Seretse Khama and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) as Ruth Williams. They are joined by Pheto, fellow South Africans Abena Ayivor and Vusi Kunene, and Botswana actors Donald Molosi, Motshereganyi Sefanyetso and Letsomo la Tshipa.

Since playing the leading role of Miriam in the Acadamy Award-winning Tsotsi when she was just 21, Pheto has starred in films including Catch A Fire, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and How to Steal 2 Million, and in 2011 landed a cameo role in US soapie The Bold and the Beautiful

Earlier this year she was signed up by US talent agency Paradigm, joining the likes of Hollywood stars Jada Pinkett-Smith, Laurence Fishburne and Antonio Banderas. Paradigm reportedly signed Pheto after seeing her play Winnie Madikizela-Mandela alongside Fishburne as Nelson Mandela in Black Entertainment Television (BET) mini-series Madiba.

"It's a huge honour to have my talent recognised by a leading talent management agency such as Paradigm," Pheto said in statement. "I have two international projects coming out back to back, and I believe this new relationship will enable me to explore further opportunities internationally."

But she has no plans to abandon South Africa. In an interview with Times Live last month, she said that technology meant she could audition for international roles without leaving Johannesburg – where last week she served on the awards jury for the inaugural Joburg Film Festival.

The multi-talented 35-year-old was co-producer of the highly acclaimed local film Ayanda and the Mechanic, which was picked up for distribution in the US last year by director, screenwriter and film distributor Ava DuVernay. Also last year, she represented South Africa as a juror at the International Emmy Awards in New York.

And early next year, local film fans will get to see Pheto on the big screen once more in Cuckold, in which she teams up once more with actor-director Charlie Vundla (How to Steal 2 Million).

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission