A Rwandan Dr Who and a shining SA star: African talent soars

The next Time Lord is from Rwanda! 🙌🏿

If that sentence made zero sense to you, you’re obviously not a fan of the long-running BBC TV show Doctor Who. It’s a combination of sci-fi, action, gothic horror and dark comedy and its titular character has been played by 13 actors. Number 14 was announced this week: Ncuti Gatwa, who plays Eric Effiong in the hit British comedy Sex Education, will step into Doctor Who’s time-travelling shoes (and time-travelling device, the TARDIS). 

Gatwa is the first person of colour cast as the Doctor. He was born in Rwanda and moved to Scotland with his family in 1994 to escape the genocide that tore his home nation apart. The show has taken some important strides in the representation stakes over the past few years: In 2017, Jodie Whittaker made history as the first woman to play Dr. Who. Gatwa is her replacement. 

Speaking of time travellers, Elisabeth Moss (of The Handmaid’s Tale fame) is starring in an adaptation of The Shining Girls, a novel by South African author Lauren Beukes. The novel is about a Depression-era Chicago man, Harper Curtis, who finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. There’s a dreadful, brutal catch, as the book’s blurb explains: “He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential.” Grimly true to life, right? The adaptation is streaming on Apple TV+. Beukes has expressed her excitement at Moss portraying one of her characters. “When they told me Elisabeth Moss was on board, I was hugely excited. She’s such a phenomenal actress,” Beukes told Esquire. Moss isn’t the only global star involved in the project: Leonardo diCaprio, whose production company acquired the rights to develop the show for TV, is also credited as an executive producer.

We love seeing talent from Africa rocking the world stage!

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