Pearl Thusi

Pearl Thusi is a South African actress, radio disc jockey, model, television personality and businesswoman. She had a recurring role on the SABC 3 soap opera, Isidingo, as Palesa Motaung and co-hosted Live AMP with DJ Warras and Luthando Shosha. Pearl Thusi previously co-hosted the SABC 1 celebrity gossip magazine show, The Real Goboza, with Phat Joe and was later replaced with Amanda du-Pont and Sinazo Yolwa.

Pearl Thusi
Born Sithembile Xola
Pearl Thusi
May 13, 1988
South Africa
Education Pinetown Girls
Wits University
Occupation Actress, Model
Radio DJ
TV Personality
Since 2003 – to date
Agent Unknown
Website Unknown

Pearl Thusi was born Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi in the township of KwaNdengezi in Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

She spent her early years in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa and returned to the town of her birth, KwaNdengezi in KwaZulu-Natal, where she spent her formative years.

She is the eldest of three siblings; Pearl Thusi has two sisters, Prunella who is reportedly coming up in the South African entertainment industry ranks and Pamela Thusi.

Pearl Thusi’s mother passed away in 2004.

She attended a number of schools; one of those schools is Pinetown Girls’ High School, where she says she felt more confident and appreciated “I could hang out with the coloured chicks and had one up on them cos I spoke vernac [vernacular, IsiZulu]. I got on with the black kids too. I’m glad because I got to understand different cultures”.

In an interview she did with Club X it is stated that “Pearl [Thusi] completed high school in Hammarsdale near Durban”.

After matriculating, Pearl Thusi relocated to Johannesburg in Gauteng province where she did Drama Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.

She has since gone on to complete a Start-up Venture Course at the University of the Witwatersrand Business School.

Pearl Thusi is continuing her studies, she is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Science through the University of South Africa (UNISA).

She made her early inroads into the entertainment when she was recruited by a modelling agency at the age of 13. Pearl Thusi entered a lesser known Miss KwaZulu-Natal and went on to win. In 2003 at the age of 15, she entered Miss South Africa Teen – a much more high profile contest than Miss KwaZulu-Natal – and came in second as she was crowned first princess/ or first runner-up.

In 2006 Pearl Thusi made her television debut alongside Zola Hashatsi of’s Craz-e fame when they co-presented SABC 3’s interactive animated kid’s show. Since the days of SABC 3’s iCrew, she went on to appear on numerous television productions including; Family Bonds, Jacob’s Cross, Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Soul City and’s Rhythm City.

Prominence, 2011 – to date

In 2011 Pearl Thusi was cast in the SABC 1 hit drama, Zone 14, to portray a character of an orphaned girl, Samukelisiwe Nkambule.

In 2012 she joined one of South Africa’s most seasoned entertainers, Phat Joe (Majota Khambule), as the co-host of SABC 1’s celebrity gossip show, The Real Goboza (RGB).

In her debut episode Pearl Thusi attracted controversy and condemnation when she insinuated that  former Metro FM DJ Fistaz Mixwell was having an affair with the wife of rapper Amu (Amukelani Tshawane).

At the end of 2012 Pearl Thusi hosted the SABC 1 New Year’s Eve Special, Come Duze season 9, alongside Phila Mazibuko.

In 2013 she joined then YFM’s Undisputed host now 5 FM’s he 5th Element host  DJ Warras (Warrick Stock) and then newcomer Luthando Shosha as the co-host of the revamped Live (once known as One), Live Amp.

When Pearl Thusi joined Live Amp, along with DJ Warras, they were new hosts of the show while Luthando Shosha had won the Live presenter search and hosted Live alongside Bonang Matheba – when Bonang Matheba left Pearl Thusi and DJ Warras were introduced as new hosts. Also in 2013 Pearl Thusi joined SABC 3’s soap opera, Isidingo, where she portrayed the character of lawyer Palesa Motaung.

She was part of the contingent of celebrities that competed in the fifth season of Tropika Island of Treasure which took place in Jamaica, the other celebrities were:  AKA, Da L.E.S. (eventual winner), Jay Anstey, Mario Ogle, Phuti Khomo and slain model Reeva Steenkamp.

Pearl Thusi was one of the presenters at the 19th Annual South African Music Awards, hosted the 6th Edition of the Crown Gospel Music Awards and played herself (RGB presenter) on SABC 1’s sitcom My Perfect Family.

Pearl Thusi was the subject of’s Nicky Greenwall hosted The Close Up, was a guest on Screentime with Nicky Greenwall and appeared on’s short-lived Glambition with Jo Ann Strauss. On March 1, 2014 she hosted the 13th Metro FM Music Awards alongside Phat Joe. Also in 2014 Pearl Thusi was the host of the sixth season of Tropika Island of Treasure which took place in Mauritius.

Pearl Thusi is set to appear in a feature film; in 2014 as a lead in the film titled Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu.

In 2015 she co-starred in Tremors 5: Bloodlines. She was a subject of Emtee’s hist song “Pearl Thusi”for which she was featured in a music video.

She hosted of Lip Sync Battle Africa broadcast on MTV Africa and (for the South African analogue tv audience) as well as Moments South Africa, broadcast on EbonyLife TV.

In 2016, Thusi was cast in a series regular role as Dayana Mampasi on the second season of the ABC thriller series Quantico.


Year Title Role Notes
2006 iCrew Herself Co-Presenter
2011 – 2012 Zone 14 Samukelisiwe Nkambule Drama Series
2011 – 2013 The Real Goboza Herself Co-Host
2012 – 2013 Come Duze 2013 Herself New Year Special
2013 My Perfect Family Pearl Thusi RGB Presenter Sitcom
2013 – to date Live Amp Herself Music Show
2013 – to date Isidingo Palesa Motaung Soap Opera, Recurring Role
2013 Tropika Island of Treasure 5 Herself Contestant
2013 Metro FM Music Awards 13 Herself Co-host
2014 Tropika Island of Treasure 6 Herself Co-Host
2015 Mi Kasi Su Kasi Herself Documentary
2016 Lip Sync Battle Africa Herself Co-host
2016 Quantico Dayana Mampasi Series regular


In 2013 Pearl Thusi joined SABC Radio’s Metro FM working alongside Phat Joe on The Real Phat Joe show which airs every Saturday morning from 05:00 am to 09:00 am.

In 2014 she became the host of The Blackout which airs on every Sunday from 01:00 am to 03:00 am.


Pearl Thusi is the co-founder and co-owner of a modeling agency, Ayana Africa with comedian David Kau.


Departure from The Real Goboza (RGB)

In October 2013 the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) announced that Pearl Thusi was leaving The Real Goboza (RGB).

“I absolutely loved my time on RGB.  I have had an incredible journey and everyone at the show has been amazingly supportive with my decision to move on.  I am not saying goodbye, just see you soon.  I have so many great things going on at the moment that I had to make a tough decision on what to focus on.  I feel that I’m leaving a stronger and better show” Pearl Thusi was quoted.

“We are definitely sad to see Pearl leave RGB. She is a great talent with many exciting opportunities that lie ahead for her. We and our viewers are going to miss her, but we are continuing to work with her on other projects, so the future is most certainly looking bright” SABC1 Portfolio Marketing Manager: Entertainment, Dichaba Phalatse, was quoted saying.

The SABC revealed that Amanda du-Pont and Sinazo Yolwa will be joining Phat Joe on The Real Goboza as replacements for Pearl Thusi.


The Facebook Rapist Saga

In 2012 Pearl Thusi did an exclusive interview with Heat magazine revealing that she had had a run in with Thabo Bester, a man dubbed by the media The Facebook Rapist.

The cover of Heat magazine which featured the picture of Pearl Thusi had a caption reading ‘EXCLUSIVE! PEARL: “THE FACEBOOK RAPIST PULLED A KNIFE ON ME”‘.

Pearl Thusi being escorted by SAPS Crime Intelligence Unit to Hillbrow Police StationIn June 2012 Pearl Thusi was taken from the SABC 1 Tshisa launch by the members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Crime Intelligence Unit to Hillbrow Police Station for questioning in connection with The Facebook Rapist.

It is understood that Pearl Thus allegedly promised to take the police to the house that Thabo Bester took her to in Carletonville, Gauteng – this was after he (Thabo Bester) claimed that he had taken her (Pearl Thusi) to where the bodies of his victims were hidden.

She later returned to Hillbrow Police Station accompanied by her lawyer.

A Sunday Times article quoted a statement made by Pearl Thusi to the police on July 3, 2012:

“I drove slowly and began trying to negotiate with him. I asked him not to take my laptop because all my daughter’s photos were there. He surprisingly agreed. He promised not to hurt me and told me he had already taken my phones – a BlackBerry and an iPhone.

“I offered him help that would be better than stealing. I asked him why he didn’t build a better future. I offered him counseling at my church. I don’t remember exactly when he gave me a knife or threw it to the back of my car.”

Pearl Thusi further states that she and Thabo Bester met a pastor with whom she’d worked, then drove past her home to collect her sister.

“I also collected a Bible and wrote a message in it and gave it to him. I drove to Sandton; at Kabelo Mabalane’s house.

“Thabo/Thomas spoke to Tumisho Masha, whom he strangely already knew. Tumisho looked uncomfortable”.

“I wondered how much of what he had told me was true, especially after Tumisho Masha had warned me that he was a scam artist. I heeded his warning, but it was sad. I later learnt from social networks and papers about rapes and murders and that he’d been locked up.

“I have never contacted him since or been contacted by him; according to my knowledge.

“To my knowledge I still have the knife in my home and I will look for it and hand it over.”

The Sunday Times reported that Thabo Bester’s murder weapon was retrieved from Pearl Thusi. “Sunday World can today exclusively reveal that Bester’s murder weapon, a sharp pocket knife, was found and retrieved from Thusi’s Randburg home”.

Thabo Bester was arrested in 2011 in connection with 30 charges including kidnapping, murder, rape and robbery. He was convicted for the murder of 23-year-old model Nomfundo Tyhulu, several counts of rape and robbery, and sentenced to life plus 30 years. He used Facebook to lure wannabe models to meet him, then abduct and rape them. Thabo Bester had numerous aliases, including Tom Bester, Thabo Magagula and Thomas Magagula.



Since rising to prominence in 2011 Pearl Thusi has attracted controversy on several occasion, most notably on her The Real Goboza (RGB) debut and the alleged racist row of 2014.

  • The Real Goboza (RGB) Debut and DJ Fistaz Mixwell

In April 2012, on her RGB debut, Pearl Thusi insinuated that DJ Fistaz Mixwell was having an affair with the wife of rapper Amu ( Amukelani Tshawane).

Her insinuations drew media attention and  criticism. Metro FM DJ Ismail Abrahams tweeted “Blacking someone’s name for 15 mins fame! Really! smh {shaking my head}, stick to TV ads”.

“SA industry is small and burn the wrong bridge and you done as fast as u arrive as fast as u go. I stand with my DJ” Ismail Abrahams tweeted further.

While the man in question, DJ Fistaz Mixwell, tweeted “Is that all u got, surely u can do better than that @RealBlackPearl?”

Pearl Thusi responded to condemnation by tweeting: “Whatever. I’ve been hit hard in good and bad ways, but I’m fine.

“My parents paid a lot of money in school fees for me to fail on TV. What I said about Fistaz wasn’t a joke, but it also wasn’t a personal attack.”

  • Minor Car Accident and Alleged Racism

In June 2014 Pearl Thusi reportedly hit from behind the car of a 76 year old woman named Lenore Bartels in Olivedale, Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Heat Magazine Cover, Pearl Thusi's alleged racist rantA 76 year old Lenore Bartel asked her son, Ronald Bartels, to deal with the matter at which point Pearl Thusi reportedly became defensive.

Also,Ronald Bartels (the son of Lenore Bartels) and his sister Lyn de Jong accused her (Pearl Thusi) of refusal to own up to her part in the accident.

Pearl Thusi was reportedly reluctant to give all of her necessary insurance details, and rushed to leave the scene of the accident claiming that she was late for work.

It has been reported that Pearl Thusi’s car was allegedly unregistered, without number plates and without insurance.

Pearl Thusi was accused of wanting to talk to Lenore Bartels without her children being present, an accusation she reportedly denied.

The following messages were reportedly sent by Pearl Thusi to Lyn de Jong:

“Hence I called reynold or Raymond or whatever his name is”.

“Interesting that none of you asked for my details to claim from me if you’re so certain the accident was my fault”.

“Just classic white people syndrome of always refusing to take responsibility and thinking blacks are out to steal from them. If you were so sure this accident was of my doing, you would have made sure you’re nice enough to make sure I pay”.

“Which I can – I could buy her 5 of those things”.

“And I could buy your mom a better car. Can’t believe your letting her drive that death trap. If you’re so concerned about her then do that and stop thinking the world is out to get you”.

After Pearl Thusi threatened to block Lyn and “Raymond/raynold”, a reportedly outraged Lyn responded: “I am glad you have put this in writing because now I can open a case against you for racism amongst others

“Expect a call from the police in due course. I am insulted as my partner is black”.

It was later reported that Pearl Thusi apologized for the sending the messages.

Personal Life

PPearl Thusi and her daughter, Thandolwethu Mokoenaearl Thusi was in a relationship with famed sports presenter Walter Mokoena with who she had a daughter named Thandolwethu Mokoena.

It i understood that for a long period of time she wanted to protect the identity of her daughter and keep her away from the media but in recent times not only her name has become common public knowledge but she (Thandolwethu Mokoena) has been photographed and had her pictures on the internet.

Furthermore; she (Thandolwethu Mokoena) appeared with her mother (Pearl Thusi) on SABC 3’s lifestyle magazine show Top Billing.

A March 2009 Sowetan article titled “Mokoena’s wife ‘suing for divorce'” claimed that Pearl Thusi and Walter Mokoena were married.

In September 2014 Pearl Thusi told Drum magazine that Walter Mokoena is a great father “Because of my relationship with my daughter’s dad, which is a brilliant one, I have a lot of  time to myself now. He’s just being a great dad. She spends a lot more time with him and they have such a great time together” she was quoted saying.

It is understood that Pearl Thusi is in a relationship with SuperSport/ SABC sports journalist Robert Marawa. It is also been reported by various media outlets that the pair is engaged to be married.

Pearl Thusi is a Christian. She is also a lover of animals.

  • Ethnicity

Pearl Thusi was born to Black South African parents of Zulu persuasion. Her home language and mother tongue is isiZulu. About her appearance, she has been quoted saying “The moment I was born everyone was shocked at the way I looked. Apparently I have the genes of one of my great-grandmothers who was half black and half white.”

“When I was growing up my family members used to tease me about the fact that I was lighter than everyone else. At school, kids used to tease me about the way I looked. I realised there was nothing wrong with me when I won beauty contests”.

Also “I’m tired of people asking me what race am I. I’m a black girl! I got the recessive gene. It skipped five generations. I got it from my grandfather’s grandmother on my father’s side who was of mixed race. Seems like a weird story but it’s the only story I have. Take it or leave leave it.”

  • Uber Johannesburg Taxi Minor Car Accident

On December 17, 2014 Pearl Thusi and her daughter Thandolwethu Mokoena were involved in a minor car accident while riding a Uber Johannesburg Taxi. She and her daughter sustained no serious injury and were taken to a casually ward.

Pearl Thusi was particularly displeased with the fact that she had to pay for a taxi ride that ended with an accident, she tweeted “Hi @Uber_Joburg – please explain to me how it’s ok that I had to pay for a trip that landed myself and my daughter in the casualty ward?”

She later her expressed her gratitude to those who were concerned about her and her daughter in the wake of the accident “Hey everyone. Thanks for the messages of support. My daughter and I are well. Glory to God that we’re both ok and God bless you all.”