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Thandiwe Newton Decides To Begin Using Her Zimbabwean Name Again: ‘I’m Taking Back What’s Mine’

Thandiwe Newton Decides To Begin Using Her Zimbabwean Name Again: ‘I’m Taking Back What’s Mine’

Actress Thandiwe Newton, who has been known by the anglicized version of her name, Thandie, throughout her career, has declared that she will now use the original spelling of her name. Speaking to British Vogue, the 48-year-old said her birth name, Thandiwe Newton, is what will now be used in the credits of her films.

“That’s my name,” she told the magazine. “It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.”

The actress, whose full name is Melanie Thandiwe Newton, said her name comes from Zimbabwe, where her mother is from. Thandiwe means beloved in Shona, a language of Zimbabwe. 

But the name was misspelled in the credits of the 1991 movie, Flirting, which was Newton’s first film. The actress then continued to use her first name without the W.

Newton, who previously considered fixing the spelling of her name, initially decided to leave it as is because she felt that it was more important for people to recognize her work.  

But the cultural icon said she is now making the change as she learns to embrace her own identity.  

“I’m more connected to myself than I’ve ever been, whereas before I was delighted to get an excuse to go off to another personality,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to get away from myself, truly, I had such low self-esteem.” 

According to the BBC, the Westworld star was born in London to a white British father, Nick, and her mother, Nyasha, who is a princess of the Shona tribe. Newton had one of her first encounters with racism early in life when her parents enrolled her at a Catholic school. 

“We’re very excited, we’ve never had one before,” a nun told the parents during the girl’s first day at the school, according to Yahoo News. 

Newton was also excluded from a class photograph at the school because of her cornrows.  

Last week, the activist spoke out against the British government’s report over race, which concluded that Britain does not have a systemic problem with racism, according to Sky News.

“Oh!!!! I KNOW! It’s #AprilFools! The Gov. Report on Racial Disparities is an April Fools joke!!! Oh THANK GOD!” Newton tweeted. “‘Cause there’s NO WAY it can be real – it would be unethical insanity. Phew!!!! I can’t wait for Boris Johnson to reveal the true nature of the hoax – Prime Minister?” 

The actress won a Bafta Film Award in 2006 for best supporting actress for her role in Crash. Some of her other notable roles were seen in Half of a Yellow Sun, Mission: Impossible 2, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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