The 35-year-old Soweto-raised actress won for her role as Naledi Khama in A United Kingdom, the biographical romantic drama film, based in the 40s, on Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana who shocked the world when he married Ruth Williams, a white salesman’s daughter from London.
The glittering awards ceremony took place last night at the Porchester Hall in London.
A proud Pheto shared her excitement on Instagram with the caption: “I won. I won. I won. Thank you #NationalFilmAwardsUK.”
Fans took to Twitter to congratulate the star.
@ZolaNothanga tweeted: “Halala girl . Congratulations my friend! You have indeed set the standard ... you leading lady you !”
Herman Radipabe said: “@TerryPheto waving the South African up high... Congratulations on your award sisi!!! You are making us proud.”
She rose to prominence in Tsotsi, Catch a Fire, Goodbye Bafana and she portrayed Nelson Mandela’s first wife, Evelyn Mase, opposite Idris Elba in the 2013 biopic Nelson Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
Tsotsi won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
A United Kingdom was written by Guy Hibbert and directed by Amma Asante.
It explores the interracial marriage between the president and First Lady of Botswana, and the challenges they faced.
Pheto plays the role of his sister, Naledi. The film also stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.
She is the first South African to star in one of the world’s most popular soapies, The Bold and the Beautiful, in which she played the recurring role of heart surgeon Dr Malaika Maponya.
In 2008, she became the first South African to be the face of international cosmetics brand L’Oréal.
In 2016, Pheto was signed by Hollywood talent agency Paradigm.