BULAWAYO born author, Sue Nyathi, continues to break new ground after she landed her first screen writing role in a new South African television production.
Sue joined the list of accomplished Bulawayo writers with her hugely successful debut novel, The Polygamist, which was published in 2012.
The Polygamist was well received in Zimbabwe and beyond.
She has been based in South Africa since 2008 where she continues to pursue her passion, writing and also works as a consultant in development economics.
The initial contact led to Nyathi being invited to be one of the scriptwriters for Nikiwe’s new television production, Matatiele.
Sukoluhle Nyathi was born 23rd of June 1978 in the city of Bulawayo. She was raised and educated in Bulawayo and was privileged to attend one of the city’s best private schools. During the 80’s these schools were predominantly “white” and because her 3rd grade teacher was unable to pronounce her name she called her ‘Sue’. This is a name she still hold even to this day. It is for this reason that she write as Sue Nyathi.
On completing her A Levels she intended to study Journalism but at that time there was no such degree on offer in any Zimbabwean institution of higher learning.
So ironically she found herself reading towards a degree in Finance. She also completed a Masters Degree in Finance and presently work for as a Research Associate for an economic and strategic planning consulting firm in Johannesburg.
Sue Nyathi reads from her debut novel The Polygamist at 2015 Time of the Writer
Sukoluhle developed a passion for reading at an early age.
As she grew older the passion for reading eventually translated into a desire to write.
She penned her first manuscript titled “Crazy over you” at the age of 13, largely inspired by the Sweet Valley High novels.
“It was a fun, frivolous novel about young teenage love. Although it was never published, it was circulated from one high school to another in Bulawayo,” she reminisces.
Her other two manuscripts that she wrote are “Skeletons in the Closet” and “Changing Faces”.
With such a love for reading and writing, it seemed natural that she would pursue a career in journalism.
It was not to be as life led her to study finance and investment in which she has attained a Masters Degree.
She has been based in South Africa since 2008, where she is a consultant in the field of development economics.
Nyathi notes that her exposure to both the Zimbabwean and South African literary industries has made her appreciate the dynamics in both countries.
“The only similarity between the two is that both are endowed with writers.
“However the similarities end there. For starters South Africa has a bigger and more established publishing industry.
“There is choice whereas in Zimbabwe you have few publishers and the emphasis is publishing books for scholarly purposes.
“Secondly the literary sector here is more vibrant with a lot more literary events, festivals and reading activities,” she says.
In her assessment she reckons, Zimbabwe still has a long way to go in cultivating reading as a culture and a hobby to pursue post high school.
“Like any industry, in order to survive there needs to be supply and demand.
“If there are no demands for books then they will not be supplied.
“People will complain that books are expensive but that is a result of the limited demand.
“If more people read more then it could justify larger print runs and invariably the cost of the books would also drop.”
Nyathi grew up reading mostly American and British novels by authors like Jane Austen, Jean M Auel, Jilly Cooper, Martina Cole, Jeffrey Archer and Sidney Sheldon. Books such as
‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen, Purple Hibiscus by Adichie Ngozie Chimamanda and An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah have resonated with her.
It is the latter that she would wish to be her mentor
“If I could choose, I would pick Petinah Gappah as my mentor. I like the w
ay she expresses herself on paper.
“Her words are colourful and she weaves a beautiful mosaic that evokes tears and laughter.
“She’s unapologetic and writes with scathing honesty,” she says.
Her advice to other writers is that they should keep at it and live by the 3P’s: Perseverance, passion and patience.
If she is not at work or buried inside the pages of a novel, Sue enjoys playing golf, cooking and gardening.