Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi (born 13 May 1988) is a South African actress, model, and presenter. She is known for her roles as Patricia Kopong in the BBC/HBO comedy-drama series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Dayana Mampasi in the ABC thriller Quantico and Samkelo in the romance film Catching Feelings. In 2020, she starred in the titular role of Netflix's first African original series, Queen Sono.[1]

Pearl Thusi
Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi

(1988-05-13) 13 May 1988 (age 34)
Other namesThe Real Black Pearl
EducationUniversity of the Witwatersrand
  • Actress
  • model
  • radio personality
  • television host
  • businesswoman
Years active2003–present

Early life and educationEdit

Thusi is from the Durban township of KwaNdengezi and Hammarsdale. She has two sisters.[2] She attended Pinetown Girls' High School. She began her studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, but pulled out to make time for her career. In 2020, she resumed studies at the University of South Africa.[3]


Thusi is the host of Lip Sync Battle Africa on MTV and, as well as the talk show Moments, on EbonyLife TV.[4] She has starred on the SABC 3 soap opera Isidingo, as Palesa Motaung, co-hosted Live Amp with DJ Warras and Luthando Shosha, and the SABC 1 celebrity gossip magazine show Real Goboza.[5]

In 2009, Thusi starred as Patricia Kopong on the BBC/HBO comedy-drama The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.[6]

In 2015, Thusi co-starred as Dr. Nandi Montabu in Tremors 5: Bloodlines. She also appeared in a music video entitled "Pearl Thusi" by rapper Emtee.[7]

In 2016, Thusi was cast as a series regular in the role of Dayana Mampasi on the second season of the ABC thriller series Quantico, opposite Priyanka Chopra.[8][9] In the same year, Thusi was cast as Samkelo in the romantic drama film Catching Feelings.[10] The film was released in theaters on 9 March 2018.[11]

In 2017, Thusi starred as Brenda Riviera in the drama film Kalushi.[12]

In 2018, Thusi became the new host of the third season of MTV Base's Behind the Story.[13] In the same year, Thusi was cast in the lead role of Queen Sono on the Netflix crime drama series Queen Sono.[14] The series premiered on 28 February 2020 and was widely acclaimed by critics, and Thusi's performance in particular was singled out for praise.[15][16][17][18] In April 2020, the series was renewed by Netflix for a second season.[19] However, on 26 November 2020, it was reported that Netflix has cancelled the series because of the production challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.[20] On 15 December 2020, She became a co-host of 1st KZN Entertainment Awards alongside Somizi Mhlongo.[21][22][23]

In February 2021, Thusi was cast as Zama Zulu in the Netflix film Fistful of Vengeance.[24] It was released on 17 February 2022.[25]



Year Title Role Notes
2015 Tremors 5: Bloodlines Dr. Nandi Montabu Direct-to-video
Einfach Rosa: Wolken über Kapstadt Nandi TV movie
2017 Catching Feelings Samkelo
Kalushi Brenda Riviera
2018 The Scorpion King: Book of Souls Tala Direct-to-video
2020 Bulletproof 2 Joanna "Jo" Schmidt Direct-to-video
2022 Fistful of Vengeance Zama Zulu


Year Title Role Notes
2009 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Patricia Kopong Episode: "Beauty and Integrity"
2011-2012 Zone 14 Samkelisiwe
2011–2016 Live Amp Co-host
2012 Real Goboza Co-host
2013 Isidingo Palesa Motaung
2013 Tropika Island of Treasure Host
2015 Moments Co-host
2016–2017 Lip Sync Battle Africa Co-host
2016–2017 Quantico Dayana Mampasi Series regular (season 2)
2018–present Behind the Story Host Fourth season
2020 Queen Sono[14] Queen Sono Lead role
1st KZN Entertainment Awards[22] Co-host


  1. ^ Kanter, Jake (28 April 2020). "'Queen Sono': Netflix Renews Its First African Original Series". Deadline. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  2. ^ Jordan, Andrea (17 January 2017). "Why South African Actress and Beauty Expert Pearl Thusi Is The One To Watch". Essence. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  3. ^ Ngenyane, Andiswa (28 January 2020). "Pearl Thusi goes back to school". Daily Sun. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  4. ^ Zeeman, Kyle (2 July 2015). "Pearl and Lerato K make their Ebony Life TV debut". Channel24. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Pearl Thusi - TVSA".
  6. ^ Naik, Sameer (26 January 2019). "A Typical Interview with Pearl Thusi". IOL. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Emtee Pearl Thusi". YouTube. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (12 July 2016). "'Quantico' Casts Pearl Thusi As New Series Regular For Season 2". Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  9. ^ "South African Actress Pearl Thusi Joins 'Quantico' Cast as Series Regular - Her Stateside Debut". Shadow and Act. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  10. ^ Stidhum, Tonja (19 June 2017). "LAFF 2017: 'Catching Feelings' Starring Pearl Thusi Navigates the Journey of Sex, Marriage, & Love". The South African. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  11. ^ Andersen, Nic (28 February 2018). "Catching Feelings: South African release date, cast and latest trailer". The South African. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Pearl Thusi Says Kalushi Shoot Took Her Back To Apartheid". Marie Claire. 9 March 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Behind The Story with new host Pearl Thusi is back on MTV Base!". MSN Entertainment. 23 August 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  14. ^ a b White, Peter (10 December 2018). "'Quantico' Star Pearl Thusi To Lead 'Queen Sono', Netflix's First African Original Series". Deadline. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  15. ^ Queen Sono: Season 1, retrieved 13 August 2020
  16. ^ Queen Sono, retrieved 13 August 2020
  17. ^ Isama, Antoinette (11 June 2019). "Production for 'Queen Sono,' Netflix's First African Original Series, Is Underway". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  18. ^ Winifred, Chisom (10 December 2019). "Queen is coming: Queen Sono premieres February 28th, 2020". Glam Africa. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  19. ^ Kanter, Jake (28 April 2020). "'Queen Sono': Netflix Renews Its First African Original Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  20. ^ Eloff, Herman (26 November 2020). "Queen Sono's second season cancelled amid 'current trying times'". Channel24. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  21. ^ "Somizi and Pearl Thusi to co-host the Kwazulu Natal Entertainment Awards". 8 December 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Pearl Thusi and Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung score a dope new hosting gig". 9 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Somizi Mhlongo and Pearl Thusi to host KZN Entertainment Awards | Fakaza News". 8 December 2020.
  24. ^ Petski, Denise (26 February 2021). "'Wu Assassins' Standalone Movie Set At Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  25. ^ Massoto, Erick (20 January 2022). "'Fistful of Vengeance' Trailer Reveals the 'Wu Assassins' Standalone Movie Coming to Netflix". Collider. Retrieved 20 January 2022.

External linksEdit