Zazi Kunene (born 17 May 1999) is a talented South African dancer and actress. She rose to prominence for her role as Nolwazi in a Netflix original production, Jiva! She has appeared in many other television productions.
Kunene played roles in the award-winning films Moya and Pinky Pinky on Showmax. She performed her debut role as King Duncan in Macbeth in 2007. She appeared in a re-enactment of a Mbongeni Ngema production, Sarafina!, done by the University of Kwazulu-Natal.
|17 May 1999 (age 24 years old)
|University of Witwatersrand
|Nolwazi in Jiva
|English, isiXhosa, isiZulu
Zazi Kunene was born on 17 May 1999 in South Africa. She spent most of her childhood days in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The actress stuttered as a child, making her a shy child growing up. She was a victim of a bully at her school.
While in grade 11, the actress discovered her talent as a performer. She performed in the production Sarafina by UKZN Pietermaritzburg and has appeared in many productions – stage and on screen. Her family saw her potential when she was in high school.
Her mother noticed her love for acting and performance and showed her great support. She then enrolled at a drama school, which played a pivotal role in improving her confidence.
Kunene attended the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy. She enrolled to study drama at the University of Witwatersrand.
While in her final year, she landed an acting gig that made her pause her academics. She bagged a role in a Netflix dance production.
Kunene had her first role as an actress in the Mzansi Magic movie Emlanjeni. Her character was a girl who disagreed with fate. She wanted to go to school, but since she comes from a disadvantaged background, she worked as a maid.
In 2007, she landed a role as King Duncan in Macbeth. Since her school days, the actress has appeared in many theatre and TV productions. She performed in a re-enactment of the Mbongeni Ngema production Sarafina!, done by UKZN.
Zazi appeared on stage in a Wits School of the Arts Open Forum production, Ukuvuna, at the Soweto Theatre. She had a role in the Joburg Theatre production History. She also played a pivotal role in the production of Vuselela at the National Arts Festival (2018).
Her first lead role came with the 2019 short film Moya. The movie bagged the Best Student Film award at the 2020 SAFTAs. She then landed a role in the made-for-television film Emlanjeni.
Zazi landed a role in the horror Pinky Pinky. She hopes to venture into other genres, such as romantic comedy. She got a call to play Nolwazi in the Netflix African original production Jiva!
Zazi had a boyfriend on Jiva!, but is single in real life. She is a Christian and overcame insecurities about her body and other people’s views of her. In the past, her weight and looks worried her since she was chubby growing up.
After joining showbiz, she wanted to be skinny. So she started hitting the gym and has achieved visible success. She loves spending time with her friends.
Movies and TV Shows
- Jiva! as Nolwazi
- Pinky Pinky
- Smoke and Mirrors as Sindi
- Ukuvuna at Wits University (2018)
- Hisstory at Soweto Theatre (2018)
- Vuselela at Grahamstown National Arts festival (2018)
- Sarafina at UKZN Pietermaritzburg (2016)