Zimbabwean Hollywood star Gurira set to present at the Oscars

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By Staff Reporter

US-based Zimbabwean actress Danai Gurira’s profile in Hollywood continues to grow after being named among the stars added in the initial round of presenters for the 2023 Oscars.

The 95th Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, in a ceremony held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The awards will honour films released in 2022. The event will be televised in the U.S. by ABC and will be produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss.

This time, all 23 categories will be presented live at the event after last year’s decision to pre-tape eight competitive categories sparked backlash from industry professionals. This is also the first Oscars since Will Smith infamously slapped presenter Chris Rock during last year’s ceremony.

This year’s ceremony is set to be special for US-born Zimbabwean actress Gurira after she was named in the second slate of Academy Award presenters on Tuesday.

Gurira, who portrayed Okoye in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and Michonne in the popular AMC series “The Walking Dead,” will take to the stage during the prestigious ceremony.

She was named alongside an all-star list that includes Halle Bailey, Antonio Banderas, Elizabeth Banks, Jessica Chastain, John Cho, Andrew Garfield, Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek Pinault, Nicole Kidman, Florence Pugh, Sigourney Weaver, Riz Ahmed, Emily Blunt, Glenn Close, Jennifer Connelly, Ariana DeBose, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael B. Jordan, Troy Kotsur, Jonathan Majors, Melissa McCarthy, Janelle Monáe, Deepika Padukone, Questlove, Zoe Saldaña, and Donnie Yen.

Gurira was born in Iowa in the US to Zimbabwean parents Josephine Gurira, a college librarian, and Roger Gurira, a tenured professor in the Department of Chemistry at Grinnell College (both parents later joined the staff of University of Wisconsin–Platteville)

Her parents moved from then Southern Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, to the United States in 1964.

Gurira lived in Grinnell until December 1983, when at age five she and her family moved back to Harare.

She attended high school at Dominican Convent High School in the capital before returning to the United States to study at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.

Gurira also earned a Master of Fine Arts in acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

She rose to fame in 2004, when she starred in a drama series called Law and Order.

In 2018, the same year she last visited Zimbabwe for a poaching awareness campaign, Gurira was appointed United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador in a bid to support the UN’s work on gender equality and women’s rights.

She has also featured in Marvel’s blockbuster phenomenon “Black Panther” as General Okoye and reprised the role in the film “Avengers: Infinity War”.

Both films are among the top highest-grossing movies of all time.

Other select acting credits include the films “All Eyez on Me” (NAACP Image Award nomination), “The Visitor”, “Mother of George” and the NYS&F’s “Measure for Measure” (Equity Callaway Award).

Gurira is currently adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book Americanah into a mini-series.