Susan Africa

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Susan Africa
Africa in 2020
Born (1959-08-20) August 20, 1959 (age 64)
Alma materUniversity of Santo Tomas (BFA)
  • Actress
  • writer
  • painter
  • beauty queen
  • television host
Years active1983–present
Agent(s)ABS-CBN (1999-2007-2012-2015-2023)
GMA Network (2005-2015)
RPN (1984)
TV5 Network (2011)
Known forOlongapo... The Great American Dream (1987)
Mara Clara (1992)
Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (2016)
Kadenang Ginto (2018)
Height1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)
(m. 1989; died 2018)

Susan Africa (born August 20, 1959) is a Filipino screen and stage actress, writer, painter, beauty queen and former television host with a career spanning four decades. After placing first runner-up at the 1980 Binibining Pilipinas pageant, she pursued a career in showbusiness. A prominent figure in soap operas, she rose to fame in the television series Mara Clara (1992) and is noted for playing impoverished maternal characters. She won Best Supporting Actress at the 1987 Metro Manila Film Festival for her portrayal in Olongapo... The Great American Dream and has been involved in several international productions such as Noriega: God's Favorite (2000), Blood Surf (2000) and Under Heavy Fire (2001).

Africa also served as the host of PTV4's For Art’s Sake (1989) and Sesame (1984).[2] Among her acclaimed performances include Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (2016) which competed at the Berlin International Film Festival and earned praises from Meryl Streep.[3] She served as the Corporate Development Director of Ballet Philippines Foundation for 14 years and Associate Director of Alumni Relations at Asian Institute of Management (AIM).[4][5] Her other memorable roles include Manang Esther in Kadenang Ginto (2018) and Nita Dimaculangan in Batang Quiapo (2023).



Africa studied Fine Arts and Advertising where she graduated cum laude at the University of Santo Tomas.[6] She became involved in acting after joining an actors' workshop at the behest of her aunt Odette Marquez,[6] a movie producer,[6] who thought that it would help Africa overcome her shyness.[6] As a young actress, Africa's mentors were Joel Lamangan and Soxie Topacio.[6] She started in the theater in a production of General Goyo (1979) for Bulwagang Gantimpala (now Gantimpala Theater Foundation). Her other plays for Gantimpala include Kanser, Bien Aligtad, Biyaheng Timog, Bongbong at Kris. She has also acted for Teatro Pilipino (“The Importance of Being Ernest”, “Regina Ramos”), Dramatis Personae (“Antigone”) and Dulaang UP (“Juna Luna”) and has been directed by Rolando S. Tinio, Tony Espejo, Joel Lamangan, Anton Juan and Nonon Padilla.

Film and television[edit]

She received the Best Supporting Actress at the 1987 Metro Manila Film Festival for her role as Charlie in Olongapo, The Great American Dream.[6] She is also well known for her five-year role as Susan Davis in the long-running teleserye Mara Clara.[6] In 2005, she transferred to rival station, GMA Network, to play a supporting role on Now and Forever: Mukha and took a television break the following year but came back in 2007 through ABS-CBN's Palimos ng Pag-ibig. Africa later did TV5 and Kapamilya shows intermittently in 2011. During 2013, she returned to GMA-7 after Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala and was seen doing Kapuso teleseryes including Prinsesa ng Buhay Ko and Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real. Africa came back to ABS-CBN in late 2014.

Work off camera[edit]

Africa worked with Ballet Philippines of the Cultural Center of the Philippines as corporate development manager/director from 1986 to 2000, and with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) as alumni relations program manager/associate director from 2000 to 2014.

This 1980 Bb Pilipinas-Universe 1st Runner-up had her 1st one-woman show at Gallery 139, SM Megamall in 2001.

Personal life[edit]

Africa is the widow of actor Spanky Manikan.[7] She first met Manikan while acting opposite him in a production of Benjamin Pascual's General Goyo directed by Lamangan in 1979.[6] The couple have three children together: Eli, Miguel, and Mika.[6]



Year Title Role Network
1984 Sesame! Ate Sylvia
1992 Mara Clara Susan Davis
1999 Saan Ka Man Naroroon Gloria
Tabing Ilog Esperanza 'Esper' Magtibay
2001 Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan Christina Tiongson
2003 It Might Be You Margaret
2004 Krystala Aleta
2005 Now and Forever: Mukha Leonor
2006 Encantadia: Pag-ibig Hanggang Wakas Adult Mashna Andorra
2007 Sineserye Presents: Palimos ng Pag-Ibig Tesang
Walang Kapalit Elaine Santillian
2008 Lobo Savannah Blancaflor
Komiks Presents: Tiny Tony Eden
2009 May Bukas Pa Isay Valera
2010 Rubi Pachang
Precious Hearts Romances Presents: You're Mine, Only Mine Theresa
Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Alyna Adela Dela Cruz-Del Carmen
2011 Green Rose Linda Reyes-Delgado
Babaeng Hampaslupa Epiphania 'Epang' Mallari
Rod Santiago's The Sisters Carlota Zialcita
Ikaw ay Pag-Ibig Aida
2012 Angelito: Batang Ama Carmen Santos
2013 Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala Demetria Panaligan
Wansapanataym: Baby Ko Ang Daddy Ko Loring
Juan Dela Cruz Debbie
Prinsesa ng Buhay Ko Alicia Salazar
2014 Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real Salome "Umeng" Salazar
2015 Wansapanataym: Wish Upon A Lusis Minerva
All of Me Maria 'Lola Aya' Sebastian
2015–2016 FPJ's Ang Probinsyano[8] Lorena
2016 The Story of Us Aurora Sandoval
2017 My Dear Heart Cathy Filomena
The Promise of Forever Janet Trinidad / Helen Reyes
2018–2020 Kadenang Ginto Esther Magtira
2022 The Broken Marriage Vow Marina Ilustre
Maalaala Mo Kaya: "Kakanin" and "Ring Light" Criselda Lopez-Cabantog
2023 Dirty Linen Pilar Onore
FPJ's Batang Quiapo Nonita "Nita" Dimaculangan


Year Title Role
1984 Teenage Marriage Lynn
1985 Hinugot Sa Langit Mitchie
1987 Olongapo, The Great American Dream Charlie
1990 Andrea, Paano Ba Ang Maging Isang Ina? Jackylyn
1995 Sa'yo Lamang Mylene
Sa Ngalan ng Pag-ibig Malou
Asero Chayong
1996 Mara Clara: The Movie Susan Davis
1997 DNA Nurse
1999 Gimik: The Reunion Mrs. Lorenzo
2000 Blood Surf Melba Lofranco
2000 Biyaheng Langit Koring
2003 Magnifico Pracing
Masamang Ugat Mercedes
My First Romance Che's Mom
2004 Bcuz of U
2006 You Are the One Sally & Charry's Mother
Ang Pamana: The Inheritance Celia
2009 Kinatay Socorro
Tarot Diana
Biyaheng Lupa
2010 Dalaw Milagros
Tingala sa Pugad Sayong
2011 Bahay Bata Rose
2016 Singing In Graveyards Myrna
A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery Hule
2018 The Hows of Us Leonida 'Tita Lola' Antonio
2019 Sunod
2021 Gameboys: The Movie Tita Myra

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Year Category Work Result Ref.
Metro Manila Film Festival 1987 Best Supporting Actress Olongapo... The Great American Dream Won [9][10]
Young Critics Circle 2010 Best Performance Biyaheng Lupa Nominated [11]


  1. ^ "More Showbiz Scions Sign up with Star Magic". The Philippine Star. June 25, 2021. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  2. ^ What's on TV?. Manila Standard. 1989. p. 19.
  3. ^ "Cherie Gil says Meryl Streep praises Susan Africa". Tempo. March 21, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  4. ^ Lo, Ricky. "Batang West Side won't be at Cinemanila fest after all". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  5. ^ "Susan Africa is not your typical poor nanay on TV". September 18, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Tariman, Pablo A. (September 28, 2013). "Spanky Manikan and Susan Africa–how they are able to touch lives 'without our knowing it'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  7. ^ "Veteran actor Spanky Manikan dies after battle with lung cancer". ABS-CBN News. January 14, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  8. ^ "LOOK: 100 Most Memorable Stars Who Joined FPJ's Ang Probinsyano". ABS-CBN News. August 26, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  9. ^ Miralles, Nitz (1987). Pay role. Manila Standard. p. 14.
  10. ^ "Susan Africa trends online because of these funny memes". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  11. ^ "The indie film Bakal Boys was chosen as Best Film by The Young Critics Circle. This Gina Pareno-star". Retrieved October 9, 2023.

External links[edit]