Lucian Msamati

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Lucian Msamati
Lucian Msamati (2010) headshot.jpg
Lucian Msamati (2010)
Born Lucian Gabriel Wiina Msmati
(1976-03-05) 5 March 1976 (age 40)
London England United Kingdom
Other names Wiina Msamati
Occupation Actor and playwright

Lucian Gabriel Wiina Msamati, sometimes credited as Wiina Msamati, is a British-Tanzanian film, television and theatre actor. He is best known for his role as Salladhor Saan in HBO series Game of Thrones and for being the first black actor to play Iago at the Royal Shakespeare Company (in 2015).

Early life and education[edit]

Lucian Gabriel Wiina 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 1995–97.[1] [2] [3]



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 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 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.[5] 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.[3]


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 and Death in Paradise, as well as playing the part of the pirate Salladhor Saan in the HBO series Game of Thrones.[6]


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.[7]

Personal life[edit]

He permanently relocated to the UK in 2003,[1] and now resides in London.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Aida Edemariam (21 March 2008). "And Now for the Good News...". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "biographies: wiina lucian msamati". Over the Edge. Retrieved 2015-02-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gilbey, Ryan (2015-01-28). "Lucian Msamati: danger zone". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  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. ^ Hutchison, David (2014-11-12). "Tiata Fahodzi names new artistic director". The Stage. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  6. ^ "'Game of Thrones': Trio Join Sprawling Season 2 Cast". Retrieved 27 September 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Database (n.d.). "Lucian Msamati". The Spotlight. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 

External links[edit]