Meet these SA kids who published books before they were 16


The South African Literary community is ablaze with some of the brightest young minds, literally making history and making it look all too easy. 

Here we list the youngest and most impressive writers born and bred in SA. 

Michelle Nkamankeng

For most 7-year-old children, reading is a developing skill, let alone writing.

But not for Michelle Nkamankeng, who in 2016 at just seven, became the youngest African writer to date. 

Her achievement ranks her among the top 10 young authors globally. 

The Gauteng-based literary prodigy began reading at four, and by her fifth birthday was inspired to write her first book, the self-published Waiting for the Waves.

It is the first in a series of books, a sweet story of overcoming fear, fostering courage and embracing confidence. 

The Little Girl Who Believes in Herself, The Little Mouse, and The Golden Ring complete the book series but require additional funding to get it published. 

Keep up to date with the precocious author via her Facebook page: @michellenkamankeng

Stacey Fru 

South Africa's youngest authors

Author, activist, motivational speaker and ballerina – aside from her kick-ass name – Stacey Fru is one kick-ass kid.

Her first book Smelly Cats was published in 2015 when she was 8-years-old, and tells the tale of tolerating differences through the title characters. 

In 2016, Stacey won the Best ECD publication: Special Mention at the South African Early Childhood Development (SA ECD) Awards.

The inspirational tween has also received leaderships awards at the 2016 Nelson Mandela International Day Community Leadership Award Ceremony; Young Leader and Academic Achievements and Initiatives. 

Her second book, Bob and the Snake, was released in 2016. 

For more information on Stacey visit

Ammaarah Wadee

South Africa's youngest authors

In 2015, Ammaarah Wadee had no idea that a school project for a creative writing class would lead to her becoming a published author at eleven-years-old. 

After reading A Feather's Tale: An African Feather's Fate, her teacher entered the story via an online writing competition, and days later the story was picked up by a publishing company. 

The book celebrates South Africa's National bird, the blue crane – an endangered species – and it's migration journey. 

For more details visit

Almé Hugo

South Africa's young authors

Inspired by the work of author Jaco Jacobs, and a love for inventing entertaining stories for her little sister, 14-year-old Almé Hugo became a finalist in the annual Maskew Miller Longman (MML) Literature Awards for her Afrikaans book, Speurder Nina Lucky, making her the youngest entry in the competition's history. 

Almé was 12-years-old when she recorded the first draft of Speurder Nina Lucky on a tape recorder, and spent two years perfecting the final version. 

The book chronicles the adventers of a PI who's life is riddled with misfortunes. 

Already started on her next book, Almé is definitely one to watch. 

Karabo Nkoli 

South Africa's Young Authors

Wise beyond his years, 15-year-old nonfiction writer Karabo Nkoli's book Whispers of Life is bursting with it. 

With chapters titled Passionate Positivity, True Forgiveness and a Time to Love, the teen demonstrates maturity beyond his years, and his work is specifically aimed at inspiring the country's youth. 

Taken from notes he jotted down in between classes in Grade 7, Karabo completed his book by the year's end. 

The dynamic teen even managed to meet and present his book to two iconic South African political leaders, former president Thabo Mbeki and the late anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who were said to be quite impressed by the young man. 

Visit for more on the book.

Andy Petersen

South Africa's youngest authors

In an attempt to distract himself from the pressures of the November exam, Andy Petersen began the initial draft of what would be his first published work, the fantasy novel, Daniel Fox and the Jester’s Legacy. 

Initially rejected, the resilient teen reworked the novel and in April 2008 became a published author at 16. 

In 2011, Andy received the Percy Fitzpatrick Prize Award and the writer plans to complete a trilogy.

For more on Andy visit

Read  more: 

Know of any other young South African authors? Send an email to and we could publish them. 

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, and you'll receive Parent24 stories directly to your inbox.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24