KOKOnista Of The Day: Thandiwe Newton Reverting To Her Native Name Is Black Royalty Goals

Thandiwe Newton, formerly credited as Thandie Newton, is an English actress. She has received various awards including a Primetime Emmy Award and a British Academy Film Award, in addition to nominations for two Golden Globe Awards.

Thandiwe Newton

Newton is known for starring roles such as the title character in Beloved (1998), Nyah Nordoff-Hall in Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), Christine in Crash (2004), for which she received a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Linda in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Stella in RockNRolla (2008), Condoleezza Rice in W. (2008), Laura Wilson in 2012 (2009), and Val in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).

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Newton was born in Westminster, London, England, the daughter of Nyasha, a Black Zimbabwean member of a Shona chiefly family, and Nick Newton, a white English laboratory technician and artist. She has one younger brother. Her birthplace has been incorrectly reported to be Zambia in some biographies, but she has confirmed in interviews that she was born in London.

Newton was born in London during a trip, and spent the first 3 years of her life in Zambia. Her family moved to Penzance, Cornwall, when she was 3, so her father could help run the family antiques business. She attended St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School, and later attended The School of Clare, a private school in the town.


Regarding her childhood, Newton remarked at a TED conference, “From about the age of five, I was aware that I didn’t fit. I was the black, atheist kid in the all-white, Catholic school run by nuns. I was an anomaly.” Newton was brought up in London and Penzance, Cornwall, and studied dance at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. Between 1992 and 1995, Newton studied at Downing College, Cambridge, where she obtained a degree in social anthropology.

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Thandie Newton photographed for Variety by Mark Williams & Sara Hirakawa.

Thandiwe is a name of Nguni origin meaning “beloved”. The letter w in her first name was excluded from her first acting credit, leaving it as “Thandie”, in English.

Thandiwe Newton

In a 2021 interview, Newton announced she would be including the w in the name she uses professionally.

Thandie Newton photographed for Variety by Mark Williams & Sara Hirakawa on April 1, 2017 in LA, CA.

Photo Credit: Getty

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