GETTING TO KNOW: VELE MANENJE


The bubbly SAFTA award-winning actress, Vele Manenje, chats to us about what inspires her and how to reach for your dreams.


She has a larger-than-life personality, an abundance of energy and a sense of humour that’s had viewers glued to their TV screens for years. Vele made her television debut when she was just 5-years old, starting out on kiddie’s shows such as Takalane Sesame and A Place Called Home.

Now she’s all grown up and wowing us as the vivacious Shanduka in the drama series, Ring Of Lies.

We asked Vele a few questions about her journey and what it took to make the notoriously difficult jump from child actor to successful adult star.

DESCRIBE WHO VELE IS?
She’s just an ordinary girl from the rural areas of tropical Venda, Limpopo and the daughter of Chief Manenzhe. Basically, she’s a fun, outgoing, loving and caring creative who enjoys connecting with people and bringing joy to the world.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA?
Probably how free and expressive I become? It’s almost as if the camera communicates to me in a language that no human being can – I literally just become.

YOU SPEAK ALMOST ALL THE 11 OFFICIAL LANGUAGES, HOW IMPORTANT IS LANGUAGE AND HAS IT BEEN ADVANTAGEOUS BEING MULTILINGUAL?
Language is very important to me for a couple of reasons. The biggest being that I'm such a people’s person, to the extent where I would be cheating myself if language were the only barrier between myself and someone else to communicate effectively. Another major reason for me to learn our South African languages has been because I have never wanted to hold any resentment towards anyone that has never accommodated the fact that I am Venda speaking. Being multilingual has definitely benefited me in life and in my career by granting me the opportunity to understand our diverse country and its people, which to me is a gift that not so many people have.


YOU STUDIED AT THE NATIONAL SCHOOL OF THE ARTS, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE AN EDUCATION?
Education to me is very important regardless of what industry one is in. When it comes to the entertainment industry especially, I think it’s probably even more important to be educated outside of the art or craft or maybe even within the craft. The entertainment industry is unreliable. Most of us are freelancers, and no matter how long your contract, the safest thing that any artist can do is to have some sort of plan B.

WHAT IS YOUR DAILY INSPIRATION AND EVERYDAY MOTIVATION?
My daily inspiration is my mother. Over the years I’ve learnt to appreciate my mom more than anything in this world. As I get older, I’m starting to understand more and more the kind of sacrifices she made just to put a smile on my face. She gives me every reason to try and make her proud. My mother is my superwoman and my reason to get up and be the kind of woman she is. My work motivates me, I get excited beyond words every time my alarm goes off because I'm so eager to go conquer whatever role I’m playing.


DO YOU HAVE ANY CAREER PLANS OR NEW PROJECTS YOU’RE WORKING ON?
There are a lot of things that are not plans but rather goals that I would like to achieve this year. Unfortunately, I'm one of those artists that prefers to surprise everyone, so I choose to make moves quietly and unannounced. But to answer the question… yes, I am definitely going to work on new projects that may not even involve me being on the screen... wink!

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE VACATION SPOT?
My favourite holiday spot is Cape Town, it’s the one place I think I have not travelled to enough. I’m always surprised about something new that I discover each time I visit and who can deny how breathtaking that whole province is? It’s the biggest tourist attraction in South Africa and we should pride ourselves in such a treasure. We have American movies shot there and anybody from any part of the world will vouch that it’s really an amazing place.

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION OR MENTOR THAT YOU LOOK UP TO?
Wow! That is actually a hard question, only because as I grow older I keep meeting amazing people that somehow end up adding so much value to my life. So for me, all those people have been mentors, as they’ve taught me important life values and given great career advice.


WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE PERFORMER ON SCREEN AND WHY?
Right now it has to be Lorcia Cooper (Lorcia Khumalo). She has proven herself to the entire industry by making such a phenomenal comeback to our screens. She immerses herself in her role on Lockdownand gives 100 percent in each episode. 


PLEASE SHARE SOMETHING WITH YOUR FANS THAT THEY DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I'm as serious as I am fun. I’m actually quite extreme. There is no in between when it comes to me – I am as quick to laugh as I am to get upset when pushed.

SHARE A FEW WORDS OF WISDOM…
If you believe in something and strongly believe it’s worth fighting for, then keep fighting. Never give up, no matter what the world says. We get so caught up in what society dictates that we sometimes forget to listen to ourselves. I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of listening to my inner voice, and being able to decide whether it is true or not. So when you are confident in the fact that it's true then don't look back, that voice is God communicating with you.



GETTING TO KNOW: VELE MANENJE GETTING TO KNOW: VELE MANENJE Reviewed by Jet Club on May 29, 2019 Rating: 5

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