Lucian Msamati

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Lucian Msamati
Lucian Msamati (2010) headshot.jpg
Lucian Msamati (2010)
Lucian Gabriel Wiina Msmati

(1976-03-05) 5 March 1976 (age 42)
London, England
Other namesWiina Msamati
OccupationActor and playwright

Lucian Gabriel Wiina Msamati (born 5 March 1976) is a British-Tanzanian film, television and theatre actor. He played Salladhor Saan in HBO series Game of Thrones and was the first black actor to play Iago at the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2015 production of Othello.

Early life and education[edit]

Msamati was born in the United Kingdom and brought up in Zimbabwe by his Tanzanian parents, a doctor and a nurse; he is the eldest of four siblings. His primary education began at Olympio Primary School in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and continued at Avondale Primary School in Harare, Zimbabwe. After secondary education at Prince Edward School in Harare, he studied towards a BA Honours Degree in French and Portuguese at the University of Zimbabwe from 1995 to 1997.[1][2][3]



Msamati (left) and Lenny Henry in the Royal National Theatre production of The Comedy of Errors, in 2011

After university he took a day-job as an advertising copywriter and freelance radio presenter. He also worked as a voice-over artist, compere and after-dinner speaker.

In 1994 Msamati and school friends, Shaheen Jassat (deceased), Craig and Gavin Peter, Kevin Hanssen, Roy Chizivano, Sarah Norman founded what would become Zimbabwe's acclaimed Over the Edge Theatre Company[4] in Harare, later joined by Erica Glyn-Jones, Zane E. Lucas, Chipo Chung, Karin Alexander, Rob Hollands and Michael Pearce. The company celebrated its 10th anniversary in December 2004, having flown the Zimbabwe flag across Europe, the US and South Africa. The last few years have seen individual members pursuing other interests. Though not officially disbanded, there are no immediate plans of an Over the Edge reunion. From 1998 to 2001, the company performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland; some plays were written by Msamati.[1]

He most recently starred as Salieri (February to April 2018) in Amadeus at the Royal National Theatre.[5]

Msamati has appeared in several theatrical productions in London, UK, including:

In November 2010 Msamati was appointed Artistic Director of British-African theatre company Tiata Fahodzi, [3] until being succeeded in 2014 by Natalie Ibu.[6] He has continued to work with Tiata Fahodzi, directing Boi Boi is Dead in February–March 2015.[3]

In spring 2015, Msamati became the first black actor ever to play Iago in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Othello (with Hugh Quarshie in the title role).[3][7]


He has also appeared in several television productions, including episodes of the television series Ultimate Force and Spooks. In 2008 he took on his most prominent role, playing JLB Matekoni in the BBC/HBO-produced series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. He has guest starred in episodes of the BBC television series Luther, Ashes to Ashes, Doctor Who, Taboo, and Death in Paradise, as well as playing the part of the pirate Salladhor Saan in the HBO series Game of Thrones.[8]


Msamati appeared in the film The International (2009). Other film credits include Lumumba (1999), directed by Raoul Peck; animated feature The Legend of the Sky Kingdom; Dr. Juju (2000), directed by Roger Hawkins and Richard II, directed by Rupert Goold.[9]


Msamati appeared as Matthew in the BBC Radio 4 drama Burned To Nothing (2011) by Rex Obano.[10]

Personal life[edit]

He permanently moved to the UK in 2003,[1] and now resides in London.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 The Knock Doctor
2005 Ultimate Force Blessed
2006 Spooks Manu Buffong
2008–2009 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency JLB Matekoni 7 episodes
2009 10 Minute Tales Flirty Orderly
2009 Doctor Who Guido
2010 Ashes to Ashes Tobias Ndbele
2012 The Hollow Crown Bishop of Carlisle
2013 Death in Paradise Dr Johnson
2013 Doctors Joseph Segunle
2013 Holby City Dumisani Themba
2013 Luther Ken Barnaby
2012–2014 Game of Thrones Salladhor Saan 3 episodes
2015 Inspector George Gently Ellison
2015 Urban Myths Herbert Muhammed
2017 Taboo George Chichester
2017 Electric Dreams The Director
2018 Kiri Tobi Akindele Mini-Series
2018 Black Earth Rising David Runihura


Year Title Role Notes
2003 The Legend of the Sky Kingdom Italiano (voice) Credited as Wina Msamati
2009 The International General Charles Motomba
2016 Seekers Yusuf Short film


  1. ^ a b c d e Edemariam, Aida (21 March 2008). "And Now for the Good News..." The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
  2. ^ "biographies: wiina lucian msamati". Over the Edge. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Gilbey, Ryan (28 January 2015). "Lucian Msamati: danger zone". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Staff writer (13 March 2008). "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency – Lucian Msamati Plays JLB Matekoni". BBC Online. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Amadeus by Peter Shaffer", Olivier Theatre, National Theatre.
  6. ^ Hutchison, David (12 November 2014). "Tiata Fahodzi names new artistic director". The Stage. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  7. ^ Shenton, Mark (12 February 2016), "Lucian Msamati: ‘Some people still see the colour, not the actor’", The Stage.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (26 August 2011). "'Game of Thrones': Trio Join Sprawling Season 2 Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  9. ^ a b Database (n.d.). "Lucian Msamati". The Spotlight. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Burned to Nothing, Afternoon Drama - BBC Radio 4". BBC.

External links[edit]