Refilwe Modiselle scoops best actress award at international film festival

Refilwe Modiselle scored an international acting award.
Refilwe Modiselle scored an international acting award.
Image: Instagram/Refilwe Modiselle

SA model and actress Refilwe Modiselle walked away with the best actress award at the African Film Festival in Texas for her role in White Gold

Refilwe, who plays the role of Mansa, an African woman living with albinism, struggled to fight back emotions as she described what the award meant to her. 

She told SowetanLIVE sister publication TshisaLIVE that it was more than just recognition of a “job well done” but it also pointed out the importance of the story told through White Gold.

“When they announced the win, I cried. I cried and I cried because I was so grateful to God for what he's doing. For me, this is such a huge milestone. It's not only my first international award as an actress, but it was also validation of the many years that I've done the work.

“This is a win for all people living with albinism and it is a win for me, to say you have set the trail for the path going forward,” she said.

Refilwe brought to life the painful story of Mansa, who through a tragic sequence of events, had her arm hacked off because of the misconceptions surrounding albinism.

The actress said the first person she reached out to after bagging the coveted award was UK-based filmmaker Luke Bradford, who directed the film. She said he had always told her that the story and her performance would get her global recognition. The film had four nominations at the prestigious festival.

Though she admitted that she would have loved local recognition first, she said she was content in God's plan.

“The world is waking up and actually realising that there's an issue at hand and second, that the world needs to explore diversification, different narratives and representation of blackness as far as storytelling is concerned.

“I know that it's not going to be easy, but this recognition says to the world that we are here and we won't wait quietly in the shadows and you can't get rid of us. It says we (as people living with albinism) are people who are capable and talented,” she said.

Watch her acceptance speech below:

View this post on Instagram

Where do I even begin to express my extraordinary pot of unexplainable emotions. I WON BEST ACTRESS at the TAFF @theafricanfilmfestival in Dallas, Texas 😭 THANK YOU #TAFF 💃🏼🏆🔥 The coveted award is coming home to me, Covid 19 could never stop God's plans even though we couldn't travel to grace this momentous occasion as we would have wished. It was done digitally. THANK YOU BRA GOD DADDY! My first international award as an actress & the first time in the history of beings, where a person with albinism in a lead role takes an award of this magnitude home! My God is no fool... He knows how this journey has been for me personally.... Shooo😭🙆🏼‍♀️. I'm so grateful. Global love like this is planting a seed, for the change that is needed in the industry & the world at large on various levels. @thepitchwhitegold has taken BEST SHORT NARRATIVE award again as well!!! Out of the 4 nominations we took the two awards. The other nominations were Best Director @lukebradford_art_film & Best Young talent to @owethu_zulu 💛 Time was so limited I couldn't name everybody individually that I would have loved to in my acceptance speech. I thanked @lukebradford_art_film, my family, incredible cast, the UK & SA production crew of White Gold & all who have been supportive in my journey. 😭😍🙏🏻 Additional to those I didn't get to mention my management @talent.etc, thank you for being open to my visions. I love you team, however special thanks goes to the person that takes care of me most, my soundboard & pitbull @khira_sa. 😍🙏🏻 Thank you to the executive producers of @thepitchwhitegold Luke Walton & Jackie Shephard. Thank you to male lead Natron @aubrey_mmakola_ for holding my hand even when I felt like a little fish in uncharted waters.  @lady_shadi Lena, your love & support has been so sisterly that I can't thank you enough. @hester_make_up ... THANK YOU my Kindred for thinking of me, even after years later 😭😭😭 To my friends I can't all name, thank you for holding my hand through this journey. Genuine love & support has become a rare commodity. To my loves/supporters (don't like the term fans) THANK YOU 💛 #GodsBabygirl #InMySkinIWin 💛🙏🏻🏆🕯️

A post shared by Refilwe Vanillablaq Modiselle (@refilwemodiselle) on

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