5 minutes with writer and creative producer Mahlogonolo “Manchester” Mahapa

Mahlogonolo “Manchester” Mahapa
Mahlogonolo “Manchester” Mahapa

Manchester always knew that she was passionate about storytelling, and after an undergraduate degree in Marketing from the University of the Witwatersrand, she went on to study film in Prague, Czech Republic. Born in Polokwane, she has worked behind the scenes of primetime television and SA’s biggest live to air productions, from the Naledi Theatre Awards, SAMA 22 and to serving as creative director for the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs 13). 

She was also part of the story team on Broken Vows (e.tv) and a writer on 1 Magic’s Grassroots. Now she is the creator and showrunner of an upcoming telenovela.

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What kind of stories do you prioritise?

I watch content across the board, and have always been inspired to push the envelope when it comes to storytelling. One of my favourite cinema idols is Asghar Farhadi, who did The Salesman. He tells stories that are authentic to his environment. They are also universal human stories — you don’t have to be Iranian to relate with them. I want to follow in this path, but prioritise black narratives and lived experience. I want to tell stories that portray multi-dimensional female and queer characters. 

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How does being a driver of story make you feel?

Storytelling reflects society, influences perception and shapes culture. As a young black woman, I have learnt that one must be assertive and intentional about their voice. I believe in representation; that to be seen and heard is to exist. If we don’t intentionally make inclusive stories, we deny people the opportunity to see themselves. The legacy is in telling stories that are universal, inclusive and entertainment that suspends disbelief.

Read the rest of our Celebrate Life feature in the June issue of TRUELOVE. Get your digital copy on either Zinio or Magzter