As we celebrate her birthday today we take a look at why Nomzamo Mbatha has much more to celebrate - including being a year wiser.
It's only mid-July but the starlet has had a stellar year. Through endorsements with prestigious brands such as Audi, Puma and L'oreal, and being a United Nations ambassador, her career literally takes her around the world. Here's a look at three amazing moments from her 2018 so far:
Mbatha dropped out of the University of Cape Town while pursuing her BCom accounting degree in pursuit of fame and fortune in the bright lights of Johannesburg as an actress. "I dropped out of university for financial reasons amongst many other things and it took me more time to finish this degree than the peers I started with. I was gutted," she wrote on her Instagram as she celebrated finally completing her degree and graduating in 2018.
"I watched my family perish one by one over a short period. My light diminished and I realised that I, too, had a limited time on this earth and I should use it to do things that were dear to my heart," she said. This difficult time inspired her decision to drop out of university and pursue her interest in acting. But she realised the importance of concluding what she had started.
"Going back to finish off the race was not easy. So to those who are still in it I say own pace, own race. have courage, Have resilience, You will overcome."
First TED Talk
The actress was one of a long list of influential people who spoke at a TEDTalk event, held for the first time in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
Mbatha, who's been involved in activism in the East African country, dedicated her talk to togetherness and reaching out to people.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, Kakuma Camp was established in the remote Turkana region in 1992 to serve Sudanese refugees but is now home to those displaced by wars across Africa.
Drawing from personal experiences, the Isibaya actress spoke on what a big difference it makes to support someone in their weakest and most vulnerable times.
"When I was young I suffered from intense nightmares, crippling nightmares and so I would wake up during the night. I would hop out of my bed and jump into my grandmother's bed, careful not to wake her. I'd sleep right next to her and just being that close to another human being whom I absolutely loved, feeling her warmth brought some kind of comfort, some kind of refuge," she told the crowd.
Although chosen to become a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at the end of last year, Mbatha has done the bulk of her humanitarian work this year and has taken Kenya on as her heart project.
"It was an easy decision for me when UNHCR invited me to be one of its ambassadors in Africa. I was drawn to the cause mostly by seeing, daily, how African foreigners are received in our communities. The experience is not [one] of enjoyment as they are still living in fear, isolation and ridicule," she told SowetanLive upon being announced.
She joins the likes of Angelina Jolie, David Beckham and Laurence Fishburne as UN global ambassadors.