Among the actors of the massively popular TV Series Game of Thrones, is a Zimbabwean actor that not many Zimbabweans may actually know about.
His name is Lucian Msamati and he features in Game of Thrones, he plays the character of Salladhor Saan, a pirate and owner of a fleet of ships.
The name Msamati might not be a familiar one in Zimbabwe though. That's because even though he was brought up in Zimbabwe (did his primary, high school and university education in the country) he was actually born in the UK and both his parents are Tanzanian.
Msamati, 43, at one time was a familiar face on local Zimbabwean television. His parents, a doctor and a nurse, are Tanzanian, he was born in the UK and grew up in Zimbabwe. Msamati went to schools in Harare for his Primary Avondale Primary School and Prince Edward for his High School.
After High School, he studied towards a BA Honours Degree in French and Portuguese at the University of Zimbabwe from 1995-1997. He currently stars in the HBO series Game of Thrones, based on the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin as Salladhor Saan, a pirate-turned-lord.
It is obvious that having been a product of the Zimbabwean education system, it is quite difficult to shake of the Zimbabwean accent. He is a founding member of Zimbabwe's acclaimed Over The Edge Theatre Company.
In a recent interview with the Guardian, he reflects on his decision to leave Zimbabwe in 2001 like many professionals have done since then. "I had always maintained, and always knew," says Msamati, "that in order to make it in this profession I would have to leave Zimbabwe eventually."
So in 2001 he and three friends stayed on in Edinburgh, renting a flat together. Msamati worked as a cleaner for a while, to make ends meet. In 2002, he made the move properly.
"Things in Zimbabwe were not going great. We were getting increasingly angry, and a lot of our anger was getting into our material. It was getting a lot edgier – and that was when I started thinking about making a move. And one thing led to another …"
Another man in Game of Thrones who knows a bit about waking up under the great African Sun is Liam Cunningham. He appears as Davos Seaworth in the second season of HBO‘s Game of Thrones. Cunningham was born in Ireland in 1961dropped out of secondary school at 15 to pursue a career as an electrician. In the 1980s, Cunningham moved to Zimbabwe for three years where he maintained electrical equipment at a safari park and trained Zimbabwean electricians.