At just eight years of age, South Africa's Michelle Nkamankeng has carved out her name brilliantly in the global literature fraternity. She is the youngest author both in South Africa and in Africa.
She also made it into the world's top 10 list of youngest writers. She launched her first book Waiting for the Waves at the age of seven on 1 October 2016. Her first book is part of the four-part series which include The little girl who believes on herself, The little mouse and lastly, The Golden Ring. Her authorship endeavours have been firmly supported by her family; Laurentine (Lolo) Nkamankeng is her mother and manager, her father Paul Nkamankeng, and her siblings are Shawn, Sheena and Marion. The first two books were completed when she was just six years old.
As is the norm, reading and writing always go hand in hand. Michelle says that she loved reading from the age of four and also developed an intense liking for writing as well. A student at Sacred Heart College in Observatory, Johannesburg, Michelle says that Waiting for the Waves is about a little girl named Titi who is having fun with her family at a beach resort but then she has gnawing fear of waves. With the help of her family, she manages to overcome this great fear and subsequently enjoys the beauty of nature.
Speaking at the launch of Pan-African Literature at Windybrow Theatre in Hilbrow last week, Michelle expressed her belief that people can start educating themselves by just reading. She remarked, "Reading exposes our mind to different cultures and languages of the world.
"You can still write books in your own language, it does not have to be English. Great leaders became great because of the inspiration they got from reading books. "
She hopes to become a pediatrician later in life, and believes her journey has already started. Michelle's family is proud of her achievements, but in the midst of all the attention that she has received they want her to maintain a healthy, balanced life.