Amplifying African stories : Interview with a book youtuber

We have been told read a book change your mindset , books gives the chance to learn without experience and see life in a different way . Rudo found herself through books being away from home (Zimbabwe) books helped her connect with her African roots. Her name means love in Shona , she certainly fall in love with books we and we love to see it!

  • Who is Rudo?
    My name is Rudo Diana Mazvita Manyere, and I am a Zimbabwean writer, screenwriter and book tuber based in the U.K.
  • Walk us through your growing up?
    I grew up in Zimbabwe, lived in Chitungwiza for the first 6 years of my life and then moved to Tynwald North. I lived there for the majority of my life and then moved to the U.K when I was 19. I have been here for since then.
  • Who gave you your first book?
    Hmm, I really have to think on this one. Growing up there were a lot of books around the house. In my tweens and teens, I usually only read for school. So I can not really say the exact person nor timeline because I started reading a bit “later” in life. It was around the time I moved here I got into reading books. When I moved, I felt out of place because I was in a new place, around new people and I was having a bit of an identity crisis. If I am being honest, it was when I moved here I was conscious of being black. Back home, I was always around people who looked like me and spoke like me. So, moving here was a shock, I think I had a bit go identity crisis. I began reading to “find” myself in people I looked like, and through that, I came to African literature and I have not looked back ever since.
  • How hard is it being female in a foreign country?

  • It comes with its advantages and disadvantages. I think since moving here, I feel a bit more safer. I am no longer afraid to wear what I want or walk/run late at night. There is also leeway to speak my mind without fearing for my life. It has brought me a freedom I was not aware was possible and I am grateful for that. However, it is hard because being black and also a woman can be “exhausting”. We are expected to be “strong” all the time even in the face of gender inequality, racism and sexism. I say “strong” because when the word is attached to “black woman”, the narrative is very different.
  • The dying reading culture, why is it important to push more people to read?

  • I do not think it is dying per se but most people (Africans) are not exposed to books they can relate to. I found it very important to read books about people I look like, who go through the same things or different from me. It boosts our confidences and is also encouraging writers to write books with characters who look, act and think like them. We need more of that and that is why I started my channel. Lol, though at first I was not aware that was what I was doing, I just thought I was talking about books I love.
  • The digital world have changed everything for everyone?

  • I wouldn’t say everything, that is when it comes to reading, of course. If anything, it has “innovated” reading. I personally love hard copies. The feel of a book, the smell but the digital world has made it possible for those who do not have time to side and read or those who are blind. They resort to audiobooks, where you actually listen to the book being read. For those who do not like carrying books around, they have resorted to ebooks. So I think the digital world has helped immensely.
  • You started a YouTube channel, why?
  • I started my channel because I wanted to talk about something I loved (African Literature) and also talk to like minded people. Before I started, I had had the idea for over a year but I was not confident enough. As people began to reach out, asking me how which books I liked and if I could recommend. I became more confident and decided to widen my reading to famous and upcoming writers. My main focus at the moment is to support new writers from all over Africa and to help other readers to know about them.
  • The importance of African Literature?

  • I believe African literature is very essential because it feels like home to Africans, in and outside Africa. It helped me find myself in the different characters who looked like me and also those I could not relate. I believe it is important because it represents us in written form.
  • 5 books every African should read.

  • I have so many to recommend but if I am to narrow down to 5:
    a. Romance: Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola.
    b. Fantasy: Lightning’s Eggs by Daniel Mutendi.
    c. Thriller: My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
    d. Historical Literature: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
    e. Children’s Book: Sulwe by Lupia Nyong’o.
    f. Self Help: I, Before We by Oluchi Kolanisi (bonus)
  • Why we need more African authors?

  • I think we need more African authors because we all have different taste and preferences. We need more authors in all genres, sci-fi, romance, thriller and also comic books. I believe it is very important for us to be represented and have people who represent us in all sectors.
  • Message to someone who wants to start a YouTube channel.

  • I would say, just start. I know you might think you are not good enough or worry about your background, but I think what you say is more important. It took me a while to get comfortable in front of the camera. Also be consistent, because with YouTube you need to “work” to get subscribers. You need to engage and be authentic. Its a full time job, if I am being honest. Most importantly, remember to have fun and remember why you started.

here is her latest review

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