Here's a list of 10 actors from across the continent to look out for in 2022.
From blockbusters dominating the box office once again to indie favourites picking up awards at festivals, 2021 felt like the world of the film finally sees African cinema. Now as 2022 rolls around, there’s a whole new slate of movies to get excited about—and with them, a raft of emerging screen stars to keep firmly on your radar. In no particular order, Bside has carefully curated names of the stars poised to have a great 2022.
Girley Charlene Jazama
Girley Charlene Jazama is most definitely not the kind of actress who just wings it. The Namibian actress has been acting in film and theater productions in Namibia for more than 15 years and if there is one thing she doesn’t compromise on, it is the opportunity to deliver an amazing performance either on stage or on screen. She is popular for playing the role of a distressed black domestic worker who falls in love with a Caucasian Police Officer during the Apartheid era in The White Line, a feature film that won her the 2020 Sotigui Award for The Best Actress as well as the 2020 Sotigui D’Or award for her role as Sylvia Kamutjemo in the enthralling drama. Her various performances over the years have earned her several plaudits and it’s clear the only way for her is up.
Kunle Remi’s prowess as an excellent actor cannot be over-emphasized. Best known for his role in 2015’s Falling, he started acting professionally in 2011, after winning the popular reality TV show Gulder Ultimate Search in 2010. His journey into becoming a brilliant actor has been a long one coming, as he has starred in several Nollywood flicks, TV series, and stage plays. In 2021, Kunle Remi starred as the leading man in Kunle Afolayan’s latest Netflix original film A Naija Christmas. He is currently working on his second Netflix original project directed by Kunle Afolayan. Remi is here to stay as he is currently evolving as an actor and taking up more challenging roles that keep him ahead of his peers.
South African actor Lemogang Tsipa is definitely one to watch out for this year. The young actor has consistently proven his indisputable talent, giving moving performances in a number of movies. The 32-year-old is interestingly building his career around a supportive wave of followers. His remarkable appearances on local and international stages are particularly striking. Since Felix, his debut local film in 2013, he has starred in award-winning movies and television shows. In 2022, the Johannesburg-native played the lead character in the impressive South African flick Amandla directed by Nerin De Jegar. Lemogang keeps delivering amazing performances on screen and the year 2022 has definitely started on a great note for the multi-talented actor.
Fast-rising South African actor Bahle Mashinini, best known for his role as Boikanyo in the SABC2 drama series Bone of My Bones is another actor poised to have a great year. A Morning Links presenter for the SABC kids show YoTV Mini, Bahle made his screen acting debut in the 2014 short film Thula, which centers around an English-South African woman, a young Xhosa girl, and her American teacher. Since his debut, the young actor has shown immense talent and his latest role as Mashinini in the gripping thriller Amandla has definitely earmarked him as one with a bright future ahead.
After leaving the banking profession to pursue a career in the film industry, multi-lingual Nigerian actress Meg Otanwa was most famous for her role as Aisha in the groundbreaking TV series Before 30. She has also appeared in films like Ojuju, October 1, Road to yesterday and a host of other films. In 2021, she was cast as one of the major characters in the blockbuster Nollywood film Soole directed by Kayode Kasum. However, her breathtaking performance in Damilola Orimogunje’s film For Maria Ebun Pataki as Derin, a young mother suffering from postpartum depression is one that sets her apart and positions her to have a great year.
After starting out as a child actor in his church drama group, Chimezie Imo’s first appearance as a screen actor was in the TV series Learning Curves after emerging third runner up at the Next Movie Star Reality TV Show. Since then Imo has gone on to feature in a number of movies and TV series: MTV Shuga, Battleground, Kasanova, and many more. However, the Nigerian actor is well known for his role as Shina in the MTV Shuga Naija series and as the titular lead in the critically acclaimed Nigerian movie, Nimbe. Imo has continually developed himself, taking on more challenging roles as an actor and he's sure to have both a great year and future ahead.
Cameroonian Filmmaker Kang Quintus is an actor and producer who he played the role of Solomon in the critically acclaimed drama The Fisherman's Diary. The Fisherman's Diary is a gripping movie that portrays the disadvantages girls in many African societies face and how a young girl shows immense resolve in spite of various obstacles. Kang’s performance in this film evolves from a loving and caring father to his only child, to a villain who abuses his daughter physically and emotionally because of her desire to go to school and get a better life. His breathtaking performance in the motion picture earned him a nomination for Best Actor at the 2020 Paris Art & Movie Awards and he's sure to build on his excellent performance in the coming months.
After watching Teniola Aladese in The Naked Convos web series; The Little Black Book, it was glaring that the industry had a gem on its hands. After launching her acting career in 2015, starring in Eneaji Chris EnenG's film titled Perfectly Flawed, she has made a steady ascent in the industry, going on to star in Dolapo 'LowlaDee' Adeleke’s mini-series, This is it, Unbroken, Victor Sanchez Aghahowa's web series Flat 3B and 'Lara of Lagos'. Her performances in these movies and shows have done well to set her apart as one of the most promising actresses around. She has also become arguably one of the most sought-after talents in Nollywood right now and she most definitely has a big year ahead of her.
Known primarily as Puleng in South Africa’s hit series Blood and Water, 24-year-old actress Ama Qamata discovered her passion for acting through school productions and before kickstarting her career as an actor in a series of television ads. She has since then gone on to star as Buhle Ndaba in the Mzansi Magic series Gomora and Puleng Khumalo in the hit Netflix series Blood & Water, with the latter becoming more prominent. As an actor, Qamata has successfully proven that can easily take on any role, her acting exudes raw talent in action and is one thing everyone should watch out for. Her portrayal of Amino in Commandos earned the young actress a lot of attention and Ama Qamata is ready to take African cinema to the next level through her acting.
Nigerian actor Deyemi Okanlawon is an actor par excellence, beyond his fine boy look on screen, Okanlawon's career trajectory has been on the rise in the last three years as he starred in almost every Nollywood blockbuster film since 2020 with films like Ọmọ Ghetto the Saga, Castle and Castle, The prophetess, The Ghost and the Tout, Swallow and a whole lot more. Deyemi Okanlawon is one of the most talented and diverse actors in Nollywood. His incredible range, taking a number of different and challenging roles, sets him apart from many. The Lagos-born actor isn't slowing down anytime soon and we can't wait to see what magic he brings to screen this year.