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Nthathi Moshesh's Royal Roots

2009-06-19 13:59
How has investigating her origins changed her life? Well Nthathi began the process with few assumptions, and a lot more knowledge than most of us can claim.

"My brother was the family historian", Nthathi says, adding that they always knew the surnames Moshesh, Moshweshwe, and the royal Basotho surname Moshoeshoe were interconnected or one and the same, but that the process gave the family more information about her grandfather's involvement with the king.

So what's her family's reaction been to the information that now uncovered? Well, she says, "Finally the whole thing about Moshweswe has been explained. It's an issues that's always been hanging over the Moshweshwe family." The side of her family that spelled their name the shorter Moshesh is relatively small by comparison, which made immediate links easier to trace. "I've always kind of grown up knowing I had an important surname," she says, remembering how often as a young girl she was asked if she had royal blood. "An my father was also a doctor in the 70s, so he was quite well known."

Which historical figure would you least like to have discovered to be one of your ancestors.
"Verwoerd," she answers, laughing. "I would really hate that!"

And who would she add to her family tree, if she could pick anyone living or dead in SA? Nthathi says she loves her family just as it is. "If  I was in love with my family before, I was even more in love with them after uncovering all that stuff. It's a family of achievers and survivors. My great grandfather left home comforts to live in a strange land and survived. The church he set up is still there. All my ancestors are buried in one ground. The education aspect has also always been a big one, and the religious one.

How far does the apple fall from the tree? "Well", Nthathi laughs, "We were brought up Anglican, but I'm involved with a charismatic church now, my sister is a Zionist, my brother is a 7th Day Adventist... so we all found our own brand, but it all stems from being Anglican. My great uncle was a priest, and my nephew may become a pastor. Certain professions are always carried - my older brother's daughter is now studying to be a doctor. It's almost like these things are inescapable."

And what about actors? "Well, I'm the odd one out," she says. Then she pauses, and reconsiders. "Actually... my one uncle was really into Shakespeare I remember, and those were the beginning for me. My grandfather is remembered as a great orator. I suppose if you dig deep enough it is there - was always there - only in a different form."

Discover your own heritage on Watch the final expisode of the series, featuring HPP at 20h00 on Sunday 28th June.

Most recently appearing onstage in Pieter Dirk Uys's farce to be reckoned with "MacBheki", Nthathi Moshesh also stars on TV in Home Affairs and 7de Laan. So she's local showbiz royalty. She's also, as she discovered by being featured in SABC 2's series about Ancestry, Who Do You Think You Are? the great grand-daughter of King Moshoeshoe. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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