Pearl Thusi

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Pearl Thusi
Born Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi
(1988-05-13) May 13, 1988 (age 34)
KwaNdengezi, Durban
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Other names The Real Black Pearl
Education Pinetown Girls’ High School
University of the Witwatersrand
  • Actress
  • Radio Personality
  • Television Personality
  • Model
  • Businesswoman
Years active 2003 - to date
Children Thandolwethu Mokoena
  • Bhekizizwe Thusi (father)
Family Prunella Thusi (sister)
Pamela Thusi(sister)

Pearl Thusi (born 13 May 1988) is a South African actress, model, businesswoman, radio, and television personality, known for her portrayal of Dayana Mampasi in the ABC thriller Quantico and Samkelo in the romantic drama film Catching Feelings. She previously hosted the Real Goboza alongside Phat Joe, MTV Africa's Lip Sync Battle Africa and presented the SABC 1 music show Live AMP alongside DJ Warras and Luthando Shosha. Pearl Thusi hosts BET Africa's Behind the Story.

Social Media

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Early Life

Pearl Thusi was born Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi on 13 May 1988 in the township of KwaNdengezi near the city of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. She attended several schools around greater Durban including Pinetown Girls’ High School. Her father is Durban taxi boss, Bhekizizwe Thusi. She is one of three children, she has two sisters; Prunella and Pamela. In an episode of Behind the Story, she revealed that she has four older half siblings. Pearl Thusi began pursuing a career in the entertainment industry while she was still in high school.

Early Career

Thusi began her career participating in beauty pageants in the township of KwaNdengezi. Modeling was the only path available for pursuit to her and she did; taking part in the 2003 Miss South Africa Teen and coming second as the First Princess and two years later in 2005 clinching the title of Miss KwaZulu-Natal. The following year she co-hosted an SABC kid's show, iCrew (an interactive animated show), alongside Zola Hashatsi of Craz-e fame. In the years that followed she remained in relative obscurity before reaching prominence after 2010.

Prominence: 2011 - to date

Zone 14, The Real Goboza and Other Work

In 2011 Pearl Thusi was cast as Samkelisiwe Nkambule on the SABC1 drama series Zone 14, the drama was highly popular and had a prime time slot. The role brought Thusi to the attention of the media industry. The following year she joined Phat Joe on The Real Goboza as co-host and replacement for Brenda Ngxoli. In 2012, along with DJ Warras and Luthando Shosha, she co-hosted a revamped Live AMP until 2016. On 31 December 2013 she co-hosted SABC 1's Come Duze New Year's Eve live show.

In 2013 she made her debut on SABC 3 soap opera, Isidingo, where she portrayed a character of Palesa Motaung. She participated on Tropika Island of Treasure as one of the contestants and became the host in the following season. In that same year, she played a fictionalised version of herself on the SABC 1 sitcom, My Perfect Family. In 2014 she co-hosted The Metro FM Music Awards alongside Phat Joe.

In March 2016 she left Live AMP to host Lip Sync Battle Africa on MTV and Pearl Thusi has appeared on a number of films including; Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015), Einfach Rosa: Wolken über Kapstadt (2015), Kalushin(2017), Catching Feelings (2017), Scorpion King: Book of Souls (2018) and is scheduled to appear on The Blue Mauritius in 2019.


In July 2016 she joined the cast of the ABC thriller Quantico in the series regular role of Dayana Mampasi, a driven lawyer who struggles to fit in. The role marked her debut on American television when Season 2 premiered on 25 September 2016. In June 2017 it was confirmed that Pearl's character would not return to Quantico for the third Season.

Queen Sono

Pearl Thusi stars as the title character in the Netflix drama series, Queen Sono. The character she portrays is a field operative of the Special Operations Group (SOG) and and daughter of Safiya Sono, a slain anti-apartheid revolutionary leader and freedom fighter. Queen Sono premiered on Netflix on 28 February 2020 and also stars Vuyo Dabula, Chiedza Mhende, Loyiso Madinga, Khathu Ramabulana, Enhle Mlotshwa and Abigail Kubeka.

Facebook Rapist Incident

According to several media reports, Pearl Thusi, crossed paths with the infamous Facebook Rapist also known as Thabo Bester. In a Drum magazine report, it is stated that Pearl Thusi was taken by the police during an SABC 1 event for questioning in connection with her encounter with the Facebook Rapist.

In The Citizen report, the extracts of Pearl Thusi's statement are quoted;

"I drove slowly and began trying to negotiate with him. I asked him not to take my laptop because all my daughter’s photos were there. He surprisingly agreed. He promised not to hurt me and told me he had already taken my phones – a BlackBerry and an iPhone.

"I offered him help that would be better than stealing. I asked him why he didn’t build a better future. I offered him counselling at my church…"
"I also collected a Bible and wrote a message in it and gave it to him. I drove to. Sandton; at Kabelo Mabalane's house.
"Thabo spoke to [actor] Tumisho Masha, whom he strangely already knew. Tumisho looked uncomfortable."
"I wondered how much of what he had told me was true, especially after Tumisho Masha had warned me that he was a scam artist. I heeded his warning, but it was sad. I later learnt from social networks and papers about rapes and murders and that he’d been locked up."
"I have never contacted him since or been contacted by him; according to my knowledge…"

Personal Life

Pearl Thusi and Daughter

Pearl Thusi has a daughter, Thandolwethu Mokoena (born 14 September 2007), with famed sportscaster, Walter Mokoena. The pair dated prior to Pearl Thusi's prominence. In an interview with Anele Mdoda, Pearl Thusi briefly spoke out about the days of her relationship with Walter Mokoena. "My pregnancy wasn't great emotionally and psychologically because Walter and I were on and off. We tried again when I was pregnant. Unfortunately I can't say much about him because he doesn't like to be mentioned – I've received warnings.

Our relationship was not good the whole time; there were lot of tears and pain during my pregnancy. All I wanted to do was love him, serve him and take care of this child while I was still trying to finish my first year in varsity. It was hard. I eventually had to pick between my pregnancy and my first year.I thought since I can always repeat my first year, and will never fall pregnant 'the first time' again. I chose pregnancy", Pearl Thusi told Anele Mdoda in an interview.

In Early 2015 the Sunday Sun reported that Pearl Thusi was dating sports presenter/ analyst Robert Marawa, however, it would be well over a year before the couple would come out publicly at the 2016 Durban July. In May 2017 it was confirmed that they were engaged to be married, however, rumours of turmoil began surfacing and endured. In August 2017 Robert Marawa, in a rare occurrence, confirmed that the couple was no longer together.

"I confirm the rumour & speculation that our relationship with Miss Pearl Thusi ended a few months ago.We continue 2 be good friends though" Robert Marawa tweeted on 6 August 2017 and later told Times LIVE when asked for comment; "I've got no comment. Just what I said in the tweet. That's it".


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Zone 14 Samkelisiwe Nkambule Supporting Role, Drama Series
2011 - 2013 Real Goboza Herself Co-host, Gossip Magazine
2012 - 2016 Live AMP Herself Co-host, Music Show
2012/ 2013 Come Duze Herself Co-host, Live Event
2013 Isidingo Palesa Motaung Supporting Role, Soap Opera
2013 Tropika Island of Treasure Herself Contestant, Reality Show
2013 My Perfect Family Herself Guest Star, Sitcom
2014 My Perfect Family Herself Co-host, Live Awards Show
2014 The Metro FM Music Awards Herself Co-host, Live Awards Show
2015 Tremors 5: Bloodlines Dr. Nandi Montabu Supporting Role, Direct-to-video Film
2015 Einfach Rosa: Wolken über Kapstadt Nandi Supporting Role, TV Film
2016 - 2017 Lip Sync Battle Africa Herself Co-host, Variety Show
2016 - 2017 Quantico Dayana Mampasi Supporting Role, Drama Series
2017 Kalushi Brenda Riviera Supporting Role, Film
2017 Catching Feelings Samkelo Lead Role, Film
2018 - to date Behind the Story Herself Host, Celebrity Interviews
2018 Scorpion King: Book of Souls Tala Supporting Role, Direct-to-video Film
2019 The Blue Mauritius Makeda Pre-production
2018 Scorpion King: Book of Souls Tala Supporting Role, Direct-to-video Film
2020 - to date Queen Sono Queen Sono Lead Role

Pearl Thusi Pictures

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Pearl Thusi and Thandolwethu Mokoena

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Pearl Thusi and Thandolwethu Mokoena.jpg
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Pearl Thusi Beautiful and Thandolwethu Mokoena.jpg

Pearl Thusi and DJ Zinhle

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Zinhle Jiyane and Pearl Thusi Beautiful.jpg


  1. Ok Mzansi, 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Pearl Thusi, 25 July 2018
  3. Pearl Thusi Official, HerStory, 25 July 2018
  4. TVSA, Pearl Thusi, 27 July 2018
  5. True Love, Pearl Thusi sets the record straight on Walter Mokoena, 17 August 2018
  6. Times LIVE, Pearl Thusi, 17 August 2018
  7. Drum, Whats up Pearl Thusi?, 23 August 2018
  8. Citizen, Pearl Thusi tried to help ‘Facebook rapist’, 23 August 2018
  9. Times LIVE, Whats up Pearl Thusi?, 23 August 2019
  10. Times LIVE, Redi Tlhabi slams Pearl Thusi for 'giggling her way around' AKA and those 'rocks', 23 August 2019
  11. Times LIVE, Pearl Thusi responds to backlash over Kelly K interview, 23 August 2019
  12. Times LIVE, DJ Zinhle fiercely defends Pearl Thusi against claims that her light skin bags her those jobs, 23 August 2019
  13. Times LIVE, Pearl Thusi and Bonnie Mbuli get into a heated war of words over colourism, 23 August 2019
  14. IOL, Bonnie Mbuli vs Pearl Thusi, colourism debate turns ugly, 23 August 2019
  15. IOL, Pearl Thusi defends her 'light skin privilege', 23 August 2019
  16. Sowetan LIVE, Redi Tlhabi slams Pearl Thusi for 'giggling her way around' AKA and those 'rocks', 23 August 2019
  17. IOL, 'Behind The Story' with Pearl Thusi returns for another season, 07 October 2019
  18. Instagram, pearlthusi, 23 August 2019
  19. Twitter, @pearlthusi, 23 August 2019
  20. Facebook, @pearlthusiofficial, 23 August 2019


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See Also