She has created history in South Africa’s Literary world. Only seven years of age this South African born girl named Michelle Nkamankeng, is the youngest author famous for creating a motivating novel called Waiting for the Waves. This book led her to the youngest author from Africa to be added to the list of the top 10 youngest writers in the world. It is all proud for the country as well for her parents. The book was launched at Wits University Education Campus in Parktown recently.
The idea for the book came from the trip to a Beach
It is but a question as how Michelle got this idea for her story? Well this is what her father Paul Nkamankeng has to say. He said that Michelle found her inspiration after they recently went on holiday at the beach.
“She asked me why everyone was standing and looking at the ocean. Then I told her that we’re all waiting for the next wave to come. Then she looked at me and said: ‘Daddy, you’ve just given an idea for my first book.'”
The book is the first in a four-book series. So the daddy of the girl had no idea that his daughter was writing a book until it was complete.
The interest of reading books
According to Michelle’s father when she was about four to five years old Michelle loved reading. She would want her parent to go to the bookstore and buy her children’s books and she would finish reading them within a week. When she turned five, her parents took her to the beach for the first time and she asked her dad why everyone was looking at the ocean, and he told her they were waiting for the waves.
The writing journey began at home
Michelle came home from her Beach trip with her parents and she started grabbing papers from dad’s printer and folded them to look like a book, and she did all of this in secret. Her parensts had no idea what she was doing until she gave her mother the handwritten, stapled-together and Sellotaped manuscript. She said, ‘Mom, this is my book!,”
Nkamankeng’s father says that they were very surprised by this, and eventually stored the manuscript in their bookshelf. Nkamankeng then wrote her second book, then a third and when she wrote the fourth book, she told her parents that if they had no plans of publishing at least one of her books, she was going to stop writing.
‘That’s when we started taking it seriously and took her books to people who are in the writing industry and we were further inspired to work on publishing them because of the positive response we received,” Paul explains.
Waiting for the Waves is the first of a four-part series. Paul explains what we can expect from the rest of the series which is still to be published.
“For the first book, she mostly used her experience from the beach and how she overcame her fear of the waves. The next book from the series, The Little Girl Who Believes in Herself, is about her progressing from her fear of the waves to her gaining confidence in herself as a little girl growing up,” Paul says.
“The third one is called The Little Mouse. It is about finding herself in a world where there are many challenges that she can’t understand. It’s more of a progress of how she sees life from her eyes,” he says.
Nkamankeng’s mother, Lauretine Nkamankeng, said that her daughter wrote the first two books when she was six years old in 2015, but they could only publish the book this year.
The synopsis of her book Waiting for Waves as described by Michelle herself is quite motivating, “A little girl called Titi and her family lived far away from the beach. One day they went to the beach but she was afraid of the waves and her family helped her to conquer her fear.”
Paul admits that he does have some fears regarding all of the attention that Nkamakeng has been receiving from the book, but he and Laurentine are very excited about what’s happening in their daughter’s life.
“The first fear is not to make this book have any impact on her schooling schedule and disrupt her life as a child growing up. We don’t want that part of her life to change, and that’s our biggest fear with all the attention she’s receiving from the book,” Paul says.
The other hobbies of Michelle are also very wonderful. Besides reading and writing Michelle also plays netball, does ballet, gymnastics, swimming and loves music. Michelle currently studies in The Chapel Theatre of Sacred Heart College. Waiting for the waves is thus a story that highlights the contradictions of emotions ultimately motivating and freeing oneself from fear and truly experiencing the beauty of nature and to follow one’s dream.