“That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,” she said.
Thandie Newton will revert to her original name ‘Thandiwe’ in what she describes as ‘taking back’ what is rightfully hers.
The British-Zimbabwean actress says her original Zulu name “Thandiwe” was misspelled in a crediting error dating back to her first feature film in 1991.
Newton, born to a British father and Zimbabwean mother of Shona royalty, revealed her intentions in a recent interview with British Vogue saying “That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.” Adding that all of her future film and TV work would be credited with the name Thandiwe (pronounced “tan-DEE-way”) Newton.
In 1991, the newbie actor Newton starred in Flirting, her first feature film starring alongside Nicole Kidman and Noah Taylor. However, the film’s credits misspelled Newton’s name by omitting the “w”. Thereafter, the actress went on to use the altered version of her name for the next three decades in a number of major roles including The Pursuit of Happyness, Half of a Yellow Sun, 2012, For Colored Girls, and a bunch of other motion pictures.
In 2006, she won a BAFTA award in the best-supporting actress category for her role in Crash.
Newton also told Vogue that she welcomed how much the representation of ethnic minority groups has improved in the entertainment landscape.
“The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me. And to not be complicit in the objectification of black people as ‘others,’ which is what happens when you’re the only one,” she said.
The phenomenon of misspelt or even mispronounced names, especially among celebrities, is nothing new. Perhaps one of the most popular instances of the latter is that of was television producer and host Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey was originally named “Orpah” after a Biblical character by her aunt. However, the rest of her family reportedly pronounced the name as “Oprah” although the change was never made on the actual birth certificate.