Spotlight: Sesame Manning


Mireya Curiel

Senior Sesame Manning

Joshua Fenty, Web Editor-in-Chief

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I first encountered Sesame Rose Manning in Ms. Ruth Greene’s second period AP English Literature class. One day when the class was reading “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, the class had a discussion about how in the African Igbo culture referred to in the novel, men paid for the woman that he wanted to marry. Manning raised her hand and gave us all a bit of insight due to her South African background. As she began to speak, the room fell silent and everyone listened to her talk. I was completely taken aback by her accent, and the proper manner in which she spoke. In that moment, it became clear to all in the room that Manning was not your average, LA-born Venice High School student.

Manning first came to Venice High School toward the end of her junior year. Now a proud Gondolier, she came here from Roosevelt High School, a private school in Johannesburg, South Africa where she was born and raised. Manning has three citizenships: a US citizenship, South African citizenship, and a Botswana citizenship. Though her mother and siblings still reside in South Africa, she currently stays here with her father and grandparents.

She first visited Los Angeles to meet her grandmother for the first time many years ago and did not care for Los Angeles at all, said Manning. She saw the sights, met the people and said she quickly realized that Los Angeles was not all like the colorful fantasy land she had seen on Disney channel.
“When I came out here, I met my grandmother for the first time and I experienced LA,” said Manning. “I hated it. I wanted to go home. It was just another concrete jungle and people talked funny. It was similar to home… but it wasn’t home.”

According to Manning, the interaction between people in America is very cold and detached, while in South Africa people are generally much more warm and welcoming. One always has a support system and can ask anyone for help.

“Out here, you stick to your friends, and if you don’t know people, you’re on your own,” said Manning.
Despite that, she has grown to like living in Los Angeles and said she will miss the friends she has made out here. Even so, Manning still misses home.

“I miss my mom, I miss the food [in South Africa], I miss my two twin brothers that make it feel like there are 10 boys in the house!”

She said she has no desire to take on your typical nine-to-five office job. She has dreams of being a fashion designer and model and plans on attending college in South Africa. As a matter of fact, she’ll be leaving for South Africa the day after graduation. Her dream school is a private university called LISOF which is a school dedicated to fashion and design.

If you know Manning, you know that she’s very outgoing. She’s able to speak to anyone and everyone without fear and does not believe in social boundaries. She has no problem walking up to and conversing with strangers, definitely not an idea that American teens are particularly used to. She takes great pride in her South African flavor, and does not believe in the concept of assimilation.