Harriet Manamela Biography

Harriet Manamela Biography

Harriet Manamela, born on 13th October 1971, is a renowned South African actress and television personality. She has gained fame for her role as Meikie Maputla in the SABC1 youth soapie Skeem Saam. Her acting career began with her debut in the series premiere on 13th October 2011, and she also appeared in the 2006 mini-series When We Were Black.

Early Life & Education

Born on 13th October 1971 in Diepkloof, South Africa, Harriet Manamela was raised by both parents who later relocated to Johannesburg with their family in the early 1990s. Since then, she has lived in various parts of the country, but Johannesburg always seems to call her back.

Harriet completed her matriculation from St. Anthony’s in Boksburg. From a young age, she dreamt of becoming an actress and decided to pursue this dream. She joined the Squints Artists Community Theatre Group in Alexandra, where she debuted in “The Virus” and “Let’s Talk About Aids” at The Market Theatre Laboratory Annual Festival.

Also read: Dieketseng Mnisi Biography: Early Life, Acting Career, Skeem Saam, Personal Life

She further honed her acting skills at The Market Theatre Laboratory drama school, where she completed “Broken Dreams”. She also featured in “Theatre Sports” for SABC3, toured Sweden with “Gommorah”, “Koze Kuse Bash”, “Ways of Dying”, “Bozoli” at The Market Theatre and The Grahamstown Arts Festival. Additionally, she participated in the Young Writers Festival at The Market Theatre for two years.


Harriet Manamela’s television career commenced in 1998 with roles in several shows including “Soul City”, “Isidingo”, “Yizo Yizo II”, “Justice For All II & III”, “Zero Tolerance”, “Soul Buddyz” and “Behind The Badge”. Her filmography includes “Dr. Lucille”, “Hijack Stories”, “Country of My Skull”, and “Yesterday”. She played the lead role in “My Other Mother”.

In 2013, she joined the e.Tv soapie “Rhythm City” in the role of Nomzamo, Suffocate’s alcoholic mother who has been drinking heavily for many years and uses alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Harriet Manamela won a SAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in 2012 for her role in the film “Life Above All” and was once nominated for the Vita award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the soap “Isidingo”.

In 2014, she had a starring role as Elizabeth Malinga, an optimist with strong moral values, in the SABC2 drama series “Sweetwater”. Also, in 2014, Harriet Manamela starred as Dieketseng Mofokeng, the sister of Dibuseng Makwarela (Nthati Moshesh), in the SABC2 thriller series “Thola”. In the same year, she had a guest-starring role in Episode 9 of the SABC1 docu-drama series “Ngempela”.

Personal Life

Harriet Manamela is a woman who cherishes her family life. She is happily married to Buti Manamela and together, they have two sons. In 2017, it was revealed that her husband was involved in an extramarital affair. However, Harriet stood her ground, confronted the other woman, and successfully reclaimed her husband.

Awards and Recognition

Harriet Manamela’s talent and dedication to her craft have earned her several accolades. In 2012, she was awarded the Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film “Life Above All”. Additionally, she has been nominated for the Vita award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the soap opera “Isidingo”.


Harriet Manamela has an extensive filmography that showcases her versatility as an actress. Her roles include:

  • “Life Above All”
  • “Lucille”
  • “Hijack Stories”
  • “Country of My Skull”
  • “Yesterday”
  • “My Other Mother” (lead role)
  • “Intersexions” as headmistress
  • “Zone 14” as Aunt Felicia
  • “Zero Tolerance” as Lebo Mahlangu
  • “Zaziwa”
  • “Yizo Yizo” as Nurse
  • “When We Were” as Aunty
  • “uGugu no Andile” as Busi Dlamini
  • “Tjovitjo” as Ausi Tshidi (2017-2020)
  • “Thola” as Dieketseng Mofokeng
  • “Skeem Saam” as Meikie Maputla(2013)
  • “Soul Buddyz” as Defence Attorney
  • “Ngempela” as Lebo
  • “Rhythm City” as Nomzamo
  • “Avengers”(2015)
  • “Otelo Burning” (2011)
  • “The Tokoloshe” (2018)
  • “Swartwater”(2014)
  • “State of violence” (2010)
  • “Dr. Lucille” (2001)
  • “Vaya” (2016)

Net Worth

Harriet Manamela has established herself as a legendary figure in the South African film industry, with numerous features to her credit. As a result of her successful career, she has accumulated an estimated net worth of between US$1 million and US$5 million.

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By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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