Thobi Mkhwanazi is a South African actress and voice artist best known for her leading television roles as Coco on the e.tv soapie Backstage in 2004, and as sassy journalist Yolisa in the Zulu drama series Mtunzini.com, from 2006-2009.
Mkhwanazi was born and bred in Soweto and spent most of her childhood in Pimville.
She was born on December 19, 1983 at Mary Mount hospital and was raised by two parents. Her mother was a nurse and her father an insurance broker.
She has an elder sister (who is now a film producer) and a younger brother (who’s in multi-media).
Mkhwanazi came from an extremely artistic family and says she and her siblings were made to watch interesting plays and artistic movies. They also enjoyed excellent exposure to literature as children.
Thobi was discovered by a children’s agency (Professional Kids) at the age of 9 and so began a life in the dramatic arts.
By age 11 she was cast in her first television show, Galooby And The Gang, which she followed up with the children's educational show Word Power.
Her biggest break was on a pre-teen magazine programme called X-Attitude, on which she was the anchor presenter for seven years. She interviewed numerous famous figures such as Jean Claude Van Damme, Will Smith and former South African president Nelson Mandela.
She also participated in the UNICEF world children’s summit in France in 1997.
In 1997 she also appeared in a made-for-TV movie entitled The Place of Lions, directed by British director Audrey Cooke and starring Miriam Margolyes, Guy Edwards, Hugh Laurie and Patrick Shai.
In 1999 she joined the National School of the Arts, where she excelled with distinctions in Speech and Drama, History of Costume, Literature and Theatre in her final matric year.
Her television acting debut was on the SABC3 soapie Isidingo in 1999, in which she played Parsons' obsessive girlfriend Thoko.
In 2003 she played the lead character of Coco on Backstage and in the same year presented the YOTV kid's show Real Deal on SABC1. She followed that with a stint on the SABC1 soapie Generations as Donna - a primma donna of a musician.
In 2005 she was cast as the lead in her first Zulu drama series, Mtunzini.com. The series began broadcasting in January 2006 and she continued to play the role in the third season, which ran from November 2008 to February 2009.
Despite her screen accomplishments she also studied Public Relations and Media Studies and is currently running her own PR agency called SAGGIRL7.
Thobi is also a drama teacher and life skills facilitator on a part-time basis.