Gugulethu Mbatha-Raw ("our pride" in Zulu) was born in 1983 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England to Patrick Mbatha, a South African doctor, and Anne Raw, an English nurse. As a child, Mbatha-Raw led a busy after-school life of dancing, acting and playing the saxophone. In the town of Witney, Oxfordshire where she was raised, Mbatha-Raw joined a local acting group that had her performing every year at the Oxford Playhouse, starting at age 11. In her early teens, she joined the Oxford Youth Music Theatre before winning a scholarship in 2001 to attend London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where in her first year, she was selected as one of several students to play Isabella in...
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