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South African president lauds Theron

March 02, 2004|From Reuters

Charlize Theron's Oscar win for best actress took her native South Africa by storm Monday, drawing adulation from fans who hailed the former farm girl as a role model for her Academy Award victory.

President Thabo Mbeki led the country in extending congratulations to Theron, who left the small town of Benoni as a teenager to pursue her dream of stardom.

When Theron was 15, her mother, Gerda, shot and killed her alcoholic father, Charles, in self-defense when he came home in a drunken rage threatening to shoot his wife and daughter.

"Ms. Theron, in her own personal life, represents a grand metaphor of South Africa's move from agony to achievement," Mbeki said.

Theron, 28, won the Oscar for her portrayal of real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the drama "Monster." She is now one of South Africa's most visible international celebrities, along with Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu and Nobel literature prize winners Nadine Gordimer and J.M. Coetzee.

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