by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – THE multi-talented Refilwe Maitisa is flying the South African flag high in the United States.
The 24-year-old actress, singer and model recently graduated top of her class at the prestigious New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts.
She passed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama and Minor in the Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology.
She was also awarded the Drama Banner Bearer Award for Top Student in Leadership and Academics at Tisch Drama, Outstanding Achievement in Studio Award for The Classical Studio, for acting, University Honors Scholar and selected by Tisch as the Student Representative for Tisch Drama.
“It is clear that Refilwe has exemplified the artistic, collaborative and community values and ideals that our drama community strives to practice,” said Nathan Flower, Associate Chair of the Drama Department.
Maitisa was also nominated for the Princess Grace Award in 2021. It is a national award recognising extraordinary emerging artists in the US.
In 2019, she made her Off-Broadway debut in the original musical Humanity’s Child staged in New York.
She was also awarded the Josh Goldfaden Award at NYU for her leadership, impact and contribution to writing.
She later directed and staged a new play in less than 24 hours at the annual 24-Hour Play Festival at Tisch.
“I’m passionate about creating and being part of projects that empower, encourage and enlighten people to rise above where they are into something better. I choose to do this through singing and acting,” said Maitisa.
“I’m motivated by the innate desire to see a vision come to life. A vision coming to life means that there is transformation and transformation means that lives are changed,” she added.
Maitasa starred in the South African blockbuster film, Zulu Wedding, which won the Pan African Film and Arts Festival 2020 award for Best Narrative Feature.
After completing matric with six distinctions in 2015 from Crawford College, Lonehill in South Africa; Refilwe went to study at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles and received an Associate Degree in Drama before transferring to NYU.
In high school, she was named a Top 10 vocalist at the South African Talent Championship in 2014 and chosen to attend the 64th Actors, Models and Talent for Christ SHINE Conference in Florida.
She received the third place overall Female Teen Actor Award and third place overall Teen Singer Award.
– CAJ News