Mashatile congratulates Lupita Nyong’o on winning an Oscar

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
04 Mar 2014

Arts and Culture Minister, Paul Mashatile, Africa and those in the Diaspora congratulate Lupita Nyong’o for winning the prestigious awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in the movie, 12 Years a Slave, at the 86th Academy Awards (Oscars).

“I am delighted that African stars have once again shone at the Oscars - the World Cup of the Arts - and made our continent proud”, Mashatile said.

 “Lupita Nyong’o has beaten the odds to win such a prestigious award subsequent to overcoming stiff competition to the coveted prize. Her feat contribute immensely towards catapulting the African creative industries to a higher competitive trajectory and her accomplishment is made more special by the fact that it comes a day after Nyong’o celebrated her 31st birthday and the fact that this season had the highest number of Africans nominated for an Academy Award”, Mashatile added.

 Born 31 years ago in Mexico City, Mexico to Kenyan parents, Lupita Nyong’o graduated from the Yale School of Drama and was awarded the Herschel Williams Prize given to acting students with outstanding ability and plays a brutalized slave, Patsey in the movie 12 Years A Slave. This was Nyong’o’s American film debut and she won the Critics’ Choice Award and Screen Actors Guild for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and was nominated for both the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Golden Globe. Her next assignment is featuring in Non-Stop, a Liam Neeson’s upcoming film.

 Alongside Nyong’o in the African charge to conquer Hollywood at this year’s Academy Awards was another rising star, Barkhad Abdi from Somali who was nominated for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role in the movie, Captain Phillips.

 The second born with three siblings, 28 year old Barkhad Abdi was born in Mogadishu, Somalia when the civil war broke out and his phenomenal rise to Hollywood fame is a typical zero to hero narrative. His parents had to flee Somali to Yemen to escape the war when he was seven years old and prior to settling in Minneapolis, Minnesota when he was 14 years old.

Abdi worked with his brother in a mobile phone store and was also as DJ and a chauffeur when he was cast in a supporting role in Captain Phillips without having neither previous acting experience nor any aspirations to become an actor. For his debut role in Captain Phillips, he also clinched the London Film Critics' Circle award and the BAFTAs and has been nominated for a total of 28 awards for this particular role.

“The impact being made by African actors and actresses on a global stage is growing steadily as Nyong’o and Abdi join the likes of Charlize Theron (2003), Sophie Okonedo from Nigeria (2004), Djimon Hounsou from Benin (2003), Tsotsi (2005) and other African stars who also clinched or were nominated for the Oscars. It is also heartening that our actors and actresses have been quietly making inroads in Hollywood given that when they are cast, they perform excellently and their efforts bring with them international recognition”, Mashatile said.

“We are proud of Lupita Nyong’o and other African stars like Bharkhad Abdi and believe that their achievements will inspire other actors and actresses across our continent to emulate their feats. The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) will continue to fund our creative industry for it to become even more globally competitive”, Mashatile concluded.

Issued: Ministry of Arts and Culture

Media enquiries: Mogomotsi Mogodiri, 071 687 4984 and/or