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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 March, 2004, 10:40 GMT
Oscar-winner Theron meets Mbeki
Charlize Theron
Charlize grew up in the South African town of Benoni
Actress Charlize Theron met President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria on Monday as part of her first visit to her native South Africa since her Oscar victory.

"The whole country is very proud," said Mbeki as he presented the Monster star with a symbolic ounce of gold.

Theron said she was "really touched" by his "warm welcome" and thanked him for an earlier message of congratulation sent via her mother Gerda.

"That was one call at 2am she did not mind being woken up for," she said.

The South African press hailed the star after she picked up the Oscar for best actress at last month's ceremony in Los Angeles.

Proud

After watching Lord of the Rings pick up so many awards at the event, she joked during her acceptance speech: "I know everyone in New Zealand's been thanked, so I'm going to thank everyone in South Africa, my home country."

She had to put on 30lb for her role as real-life serial killer Aileen Wournos.

Theron is the first South African actress to win the award.

The 28-year-old was brought up in Benoni, a working-class white community 35km (23 miles) east of Johannesburg.

Her other films include Tom Hanks' directorial debut That Thing You Do!, The Astronaut's Wife alongside Johnny Depp, golfing drama The Legend Of Bagger Vance, and Oscar-winning The Cider House Rules.




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