Harriet Manamela: A Legend in South African Entertainment


Harriet Manamela, a renowned South African actress and television personality, has made a lasting impact on the entertainment industry. In this article, we will delve into the life of this iconic figure, covering her biography, family, and her significant contributions to the world of acting.

Early Life and Background

Born on the 13th of October 1971 in Diepkloof, South Africa, Harriet Manamela hails from a family deeply rooted in their cultural heritage. She was raised by both parents and, in the early 1990s, the family relocated to Johannesburg, a city that would play a significant role in her life and career. While she has resided in various parts of the country, Johannesburg has always been a place she calls home.

A Dream Realized

From a young age, Harriet had a dream – to become an actress. Her determination to follow her passion led her to join the Squints Artists Community Theatre Group in Alexandra. Her debut performance at The Market Theatre Laboratory Annual Festival was a pivotal moment, where she took on roles in “The Virus” and “Let’s Talk About Aids.”

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Continuing her pursuit of her dream, she completed “Broken Dreams” at The Market Theatre Laboratory drama school. Harriet’s talent and dedication soon led her to appear in notable productions such as “Theatre Sports” for SABC3, a tour of Sweden with “Gommorah,” “Koze Kuse Bash,” “Ways of Dying,” and “Bozoli” at The Market Theatre, as well as performances at The Grahamstown Arts Festival. She also participated in the Young Writers Festival at The Market Theatre for two years, further honing her skills.

Television and Film Career

Harriet Manamela’s career in television and film took off with a series of remarkable roles. Her versatility and acting prowess were on full display in productions like “Soul City,” “Isidingo,” “Yizo Yizo II,” “Justice For All II & III,” “Zero Tolerance,” “Soul Buddyz,” and “Behind The Badge.” In 1998, she ventured into the world of film with appearances in movies like “Dr. Lucille,” “Hijack Stories,” “Country of My Skull,” and “Yesterday.” Her talents shone even brighter in the film “My Other Mother,” where she played a significant role.

One of her most notable roles came in 2013 when she appeared in the e.Tv serial opera “Rhythm City” as Nomzamo, a character struggling with alcoholism as a coping mechanism. This portrayal earned her a SAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in 2012.

Harriet Manamela’s achievements continued to be recognized as she received a Vita nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the soap opera “Isidingo.”

Recent Endeavors

In 2014, Harriet Manamela took on the role of Elizabeth Malinga in the SABC2 drama series “Sweetwater.” The character of Elizabeth is an optimist with strong moral values, despite her past experiences with empty promises from the wealthy.

The same year, she appeared in the SABC2 thriller series “Thola” as Dieketseng Mofokeng, the sister of Dibuseng Makwarela (Nthati Moshesh). Dieketseng is face with a challenging decision as she helps her brother in a battle for their forgotten beliefs.

In Episode 9 of the SABC1 docu-drama series “Ngempela,” Harriet Manamela made a guest appearance as a tourist, showcasing her versatility as an actress.

Personal Life

Beyond her professional achievements, Harriet Manamela enjoys a fulfilling personal life. She is happily marry to Buti Manamela, and the couple has bless with two sons. In 2017, their relationship face a challenge when it was reveale that her husband was having an affair. However, Harriet stood firm, confronted the situation, and ultimately managed to rebuild her marriage.


Harriet Manamela’s journey from a young dreamer to an acclaimed actress and television personality is nothing short of inspiring. Her dedication to her craft, versatile talent, and resilience in her personal life make her a true legend in the South African entertainment industry. Harriet Manamela’s story continues to captivate audiences, and her legacy is set to endure for generation to come.

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