Rudo Manyere is a blogger/writer/booktuber and ‘aspiring screenwriter”.
How did you get into writing and storytelling?
I started writing stories when I was in high school, but way before that I used to write summaries of movies when we had to write compositions in primary school. I always knew my teacher never watched those kinds of movies, so I was “safe” from plagiarism. It was in high school that I really blossomed, and my classmates used to pass my book of stories around.
What inspired you to start your blog, Basic Girl Blog?
My love for words and wanting to escape drove me to blog. My first ever blog was a poem to my ex-boyfriend in 2015. I had found out he had moved on before me (silly, I know) and I wanted to vent out my emotions.
Who are your favourite storytellers/writers?
Oh gosh, there are so many. Number one will have to be Yaa Gyasi. She only has 2 books and I have only read one, but wow, her writing is just breath-taking. It’s so easy to understand but the way she contracts sentences is so whimsical. I love Rumbidzai Vazhure’s poetry, she is brilliant when it comes to evoking emotions. I love Chimamanda, Adaobi Tricia Nwausabi, Brian Chikwava and Noviolet Bulawayo to name a few.
Where does the inspiration for your stories come from?
Anywhere really. It could be a song, a certain scent, listening to someone vent, watching people or just my emotions looking for an escape. I can never pinpoint one thing that inspires me, it’s a myriad of things.
How did your YouTube channel, Basic Girl Reads come to be?
Well, I had dedicated the last 3 years to only reading Afrolit. I guess it was because I was missing home and wanted to find someone/something that connected me to Zimbabwe or Africa in general. After a while, I then realised that maybe there were people feeling the same way, or others who wanted to find inspiration to write.
What is your process when reviewing books?
Firstly, I make sure I read the book. I like talking about things I am certain about. When reading, at times I highlight certain topics that would have caught my attention. I also make sure I learn from the book personally before I review it on YouTube.
What impact do you want your stories and book reviews to have on those that read and watch?
I would like the stories I write to encourage the readers to write their own. I never went to school or studied writing, but I write. Once I started that is when people approached and encouraged me to take free classes and join writing clubs. Just starting is the big step and everything will fall into place. From my videos, I want people to experience the whole of Africa beyond how it is portrayed in the media. I want to give famous and unknown writers a space where they are appreciated, and I hope I am doing well in that.
Who are your favourite bloggers/vloggers and why them?
My favourite bloggers would be Josephine Amoaka from Ghana who writes amazing short stories. It amazes me how she has stories with 10 parts. Another blogger would be Benjamin Musanjufu from Uganda, he is very supportive and candid. There are so many bloggers who I admire from all over Africa. I also like Nicole Kurebwaseka, Makaitarogue and so many more.
What were your highlights in 2020?
Firstly, it would be the gift of life. Being a key worker, I have seen so much that being alive is one of the biggest highlights. I think starting my YouTube channel too. I had the idea for over a year, but I was so afraid to put myself out there. It took me a while to gather the courage to record and upload it, it was scary but worth it. Being in the New York Times is also one of the greatest highlights, being on BBC Radio Oxford. I was/am part of a docuseries called Truth on YouTube, where young people in the U.K talk about their experiences in relationships, religion etc. Still being able to work and being healthy. At the moment, that is all I can think about but there are definitely more highlights.
What are the top songs in your playlist right now and why?
Cut Them Off by Takura and Holy Ten- I love that song so much, I always listen to it when I need to write or put on my “game on” face. I like how it lowkey encourages me and hypes me up.
Grace by Jonathan McReynolds- I sometimes listen to it in the morning, it reminds me that it’s all because of God’s grace and He is the one who enables me and has taken me this far.
Mwana Ndakubirai by Holy Ten- I like the message, a guy who is not afraid to claim you, not afraid to say how he feels with his chest and goes after what he wants is the kind of guy after my own heart.
Urban Grooves (Zim)- I know this is not a song but a genre, but that is what I listen to when I am writing. It takes me back home and it kinda helps me harness the inspiration that drives me.
Zombie by Lecrae- I like how it describes me at times, how you are just surviving, and you become a zombie. I find the message encouraging.
How would you love to be remembered?
I have never really thought about it, but I think I would love to be remembered as the girl who loved being African, to talk, learn and embrace Africa in any way she could.