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Lucian Msamati
Msamati in 2010
Lucian Gabriel Wiina Msamati

(1976-03-05) 5 March 1976 (age 48)
London, England
Occupation(s)Actor, writer, director and producer

Lucian Gabriel Wiina Msamati (born 5 March 1976) is a British-Tanzanian actor, writer, director and producer in theatre, film, television and radio. His screen credits include the roles of Salladhor Saan in HBO series Game of Thrones, J.L.B. Matekoni in the BBC/HBO adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, David Runihura in the Netflix/BBC thriller Black Earth Rising and Ed Dumani in the SKY/AMC series Gangs of London.

Msamati's theatre credits include being the first black actor to play Iago in the Royal Shakespeare Company's acclaimed 2015 production of Othello, Toledo in the National Theatre’s Olivier award-winning revival of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in 2016, Antonio Salieri in the National Theatre’s Olivier-award winning revival of Amadeus 2017-2018, Arturo Ui in Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Lyric Hammersmith in 2008 and Kevin/Albert in the multi-award winning Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris at the Royal Court Theatre and The Wyndhams Theatre in the West End 2010-2011.

Msamati is a patron of Lewisham Youth Theatre, WildChild and The Actor’s Children’s Trust (ACT) and currently serves on the board of trustees at the Donmar Warehouse.

Early life and education

Msamati[1] was born at St Thomas' Hospital,[2] London[3] on 5 March 1976 and brought up in Zimbabwe by his Tanzanian parents, a doctor and a nurse.[4] 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][4][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[5] 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 United States 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.[4]

In November 2010, Msamati was appointed the 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 the spring of 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]

From October 2016 to March 2017 and from February to 24 April 2018, he performed in the leading role of Antonio Salieri in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus at the National Theatre, a performance which Michael Billington, in a four-starred review for The Guardian, described as "excellent".[8][9]

In 2019 he starred as Sam in Master Harold and the Boys at the Royal National Theatre.[10][11]

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


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.[15] 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.[16][17] He recently appeared as Lord Faa in His Dark Materials on BBC One. In 2020 Msamati appeared as Ed Dumani in Sky Atlantic’s Gangs of London[18] and in an episode of the BBC's production of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads.[19]


Msamati appeared in the film The International (2009). Other film credits include Lumumba (1999), directed by Raoul Peck; the animated feature The Legend of the Sky Kingdom (2003), directed by Roger Hawkins and Richard II, directed by Rupert Goold.[20]


Msamati appeared as Matthew in the BBC Radio 4 drama Burned to Nothing (2011) by Rex Obano.[21]

Personal life

Msamati permanently moved to the UK in 2003,[4] and now resides in London.[20] He is married and has two children, a son and a daughter.[2]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 The Knock Doctor Series 3, Episode 2
Credited as Wina Msamati
2005 Ultimate Force Blessed Episode: "Never Go Back"
2006 Spooks Manu Buffong Series 5, episode 4
2008–2009 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency JLB Matekoni Seven episodes
2009 10 Minute Tales Flirty Orderly
2010 Doctor Who Guido Episode: "The Vampires of Venice"
2010 Ashes to Ashes Tobias Ndbele Series 3, Episode 7
2012 The Hollow Crown Bishop of Carlisle Episode: Richard II
2013 Death in Paradise Dr Johnson Episode: "Murder on the Plantation"
2013 Doctors Joseph Segunle Episode: "Thicker Than Water"
2013 Holby City Dumisani Themba Episode: "Ask Me No Questions"
2013 Luther Ken Barnaby Two episodes
2012–2014 Game of Thrones Salladhor Saan Three episodes
2015 Inspector George Gently Ellison Episode: "Son of a Gun"
2015 Urban Myths Herbert Muhammed Episode: "The Greatest. Of All Time."
2017 Taboo George Chichester
2017 Electric Dreams The Director Episode: "Crazy Diamond"
2018 Kiri Tobi Akindele Miniseries
2018 Black Earth Rising David Runihura
2019 His Dark Materials John Faa TV series
2020-2022 Gangs of London Ed Dumani TV series
2020 Talking Heads Wilfred Paterson Episode: "Playing Sandwiches"
2023 Best Interests Derek Miniseries


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
2019 The Good Liar Beni
2020 Zog and the Flying Doctors The Lion (voice) Short film[22]
2022 See How They Run Max Mallowan
TBA Conclave Cardinal Adeyemi Filming


  1. ^ a b "Biographies: Wiina Lucian Msamati". Over the Edge Zimbabwe. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Lucian Msamati". London Theatre. 8 June 2016. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e Gilbey, Ryan (28 January 2015). "Lucian Msamati: danger zone". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Edemariam, Aida (21 March 2008). "And now for the good news..." The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Lucian Msamati plays JLB Matekoni" (Press release). BBC Press Office. 13 March 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  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. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  8. ^ Billington, Michael (27 October 2016). "Amadeus review – stunning production pits Salieri against God, Mozart and his own orchestra". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Amadeus 2018". Royal National Theatre. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  10. ^ ""Master Harold"...and the Boys". Royal National Theatre. 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  11. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (2 October 2019). "'Master Harold… and the Boys, National's Lyttelton Theatre, review: a spellbinding affirmation of the need for humanity at the bleakest moments". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  12. ^ Coveney, Michael (13 April 2009). "Death and the King's Horseman, National Theatre, London". The Independent. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  13. ^ Billington, Michael (23 April 2010). "Ruined". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  14. ^ Sierz, Aleks (2 September 2010). "Clybourne Park, Royal Court Theatre". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Anthony Minghella and Richard Curtis collaborate for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" (Press release). BBC Press Office. 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  16. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (26 August 2011). "'Game of Thrones': Trio Join Sprawling Season 2 Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  17. ^ Durrant, Nancy (24 September 2019). "Lucian Msamati on Game of Thrones and returning to the National Theatre". The Times. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  18. ^ Ritman, Alex (5 December 2018). "'Gangs of London' Cinemax Series Sets Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Alan Bennett's Talking Heads". BBC Media Centre (Press release). 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Lucian Msamati". Spotlight. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Burned to Nothing, Afternoon Drama – BBC Radio 4". BBC.
  22. ^ "Zog and the Flying Doctors". BBC One. 1 January 2021. Retrieved 23 January 2021.