The South African literary world knows Rešoketšwe Manenzhe as a poet, short story writer and award-winning novelist. Even with her 2020 debut novel Scatterlings receiving rave reviews worldwide, the 32-year-old is hellbent on maintaining a simple life – something she suspects was inspired by growing up in rural Limpopo.
“I really am a simple person. I think some would describe me as boring – and I’m totally fine with that. Being totally fine with this has actually led me to really be okay with myself a lot of the time,” she explains.
Simplicity is an undertaking that recently made Rešoketšwe leave social media in pursuit of living in the moment. Citing the joke about bringing back diaries because everybody is just putting their business everywhere, Rešoketšwe says,
“We laugh at this joke but it’s also kind of true. Social media has made us too connected. I don’t think we’re meant to know so much about each other’s thoughts. And I wanted to have, and maintain, a certain mystery with people. As in, meet people at face value and experience them for the first time without thinking about something they said on Twitter.”
Rešoketšwe’s writing journey was inspired by her love for poetry back in high school. “I never studied literature or anything related to it. I just kept writing poetry, then did short stories and progressed to novels,” she explains. How’s that for a reminder that passion can truly steer us in the direction of our dream lives? Though Rešoketšwe is currently completing her PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, she admits that if she could venture into anything new right now, it would be to study film. “If, at 18, I knew what I know now, I would’ve gone to film school. But we don’t know that some things are options until we are much older,” she muses.
With two career streams that are a far cry from each other, Rešoketšwe is still grateful that she held onto a truth she discovered in her formative years. “Knowing for a fact that I’m not someone who would do well in corporate really saved me. I don’t fit well into that kind of mould. That structure really leaves me depleted.” For now, while she figures out how to merge her scientific and creative worlds, she’s holding on to simplicity, in all forms, as her guiding force.
Lesser Known Facts
“Sci-fi and romance are my top two favourite genres. I think that nobody suspects this because I write a lot of literary fiction, which doesn’t fit neatly into any genre.”
On Embracing Stress
“I have such packed days that I haven’t had much of a social life in a long while. Honestly, I haven’t reached a point where I’m able to better handle stress. I’m just trying to survive at this point, and that’s also okay.”
This article was originally published in the July/August 2023 issue of Women’s Health SA.