SA siblings bag international nod for ‘African America’ film [watch]

South African siblings Muzi and Phumi Mthembu co-wrote their film African America that hit Netflix in February 2021. The film, which follows a South African woman in New York, has been nominated for Outstanding International Motion Picture at the 53rd National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards. 

This comes after the film scored a nomination for Outstanding Foreign Language Film at the Black Reel Film Awards in December 2021. 


Muzi and Phumi Mthembu’s African America follows newlywed Nompumelelo (played by Phumi Mthembu) who leaves South Africa for New York to chase her dream of becoming a Broadway star

Phumi told City Press that Nompumelelo is someone’s inspiration but another person’s definition of a “complete mess”. 

“She’s a woman whose dreams not only matter to her but are also worth fighting tooth and nail for. She is also someone who I believe needed the perspective her journey gave her – that sometimes our problems are not our marriages or our countries, but sometimes they are born out of our own flaws.” 



The drama film is inspired by Phumi’s time in New York. Similar to her character, Nompumelelo, Phumi lived in the United States for almost a year chasing her Broadway dreams. 

“I came back extremely jaded, just because of the harshness of the realities of being Black in the United States,” she told Afro

Muzi added that Phumi fell into a “deep depression” after returning from the United States.

“I actually realised the advantage of having a country where mostly you see people that look like you. I never understood how almost heartbreaking it must be, to be in a place where the images presented don’t reflect who you are,” said Phumi.  

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In December 2021, Muzi Mthembu celebrated African America bagging a nomination at the Black Reel Film Awards in the Outstanding Foreign Language Film category. 

Muzi Mthembu took to Instagram on 20 January to celebrate African America’s NAACP Image Awards nomination. The drama film is nominated in the Outstanding International Motion Picture film category. 

Taking to Instagram, Mthembu wrote: “It’s not even about winning at this point. My independent film, my directorial debut, shot on a shoestring budget, under the most trying of circumstances, over the last five years including a whole pandemic… is nominated alongside Insecure, King Richard and Judas and the Messiah.” 

The awards are set to take place on Saturday 26 February.

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