Nomzamo Mbatha discovered her resilience while growing up outside of Durban, South Africa. “I may have been raised in a township and community that is marginalized, but everything that I am speaks conqueror,” the Assassin star declares to EBONY. 

Money was scarce when Mbatha was being raised by her grandmother; paying for school and clothing was a daily challenge. But in the face of adversity, the Coming 2 America alum always excelled, much in part because of her homeland. “The people, the diverse cultures, the breathtaking landscapes, the hardships I had to overcome from a young age, the music and everything in between informed the kind of person that I am today.”

Giving back became an important part o her life. “I began humanitarian work when I was just 14 years old so it has always been the road that would be a part of my purpose." She is currently a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency. “I engage with refugees across the African continent, participate in fundraising efforts, speak on emergency relief and also engage stakeholders to continue to support the efforts of the UN. It is truly the calling of my life.” Mbatha has also launched her own organization called the Nomzamo Lighthouse Foundation, which focuses on college education, community outreach and humanitarian relief in South Africa.

In her latest film Assassin, Mbatha is having an out-of-body experience. She plays Alexa, a woman who goes undercover in the body of another person to find the man who killed her husband. “At the core of this film is a love story and a woman’s quest for the truth and ultimate rescue of her love,” the actress shares.

To prepare for the role, Mbatha delved into the world of science fiction. “I was trying to unpack those complexities of time moving at the speed of light and what it truly feels like to be in search of truth and identity … all while kicking butt,” she says. The film, which features Bruce Willis in his last film role, balances complex emotional landscapes and action-packed genre storytelling. “It's a psychological minefield,” Mbatha surmises.

More of that conquerer spirit rises in Mbatha’s next film. She is executive producing and starring in the upcoming series Shaka, where plays Queen Nandi, the mother of Shaka Zulu. “It tells the epic tale of the Nguni origins and the giant that was Shaka Zulu. We have an insanely talented cast, and the wardrobe, cinematography, hair, directing and music is bone-chilling,” she declares. “It’s the BEST television series epic that the world did not see coming, and I am just honored to be portraying her.”