Seventeen-year-old Reneiloe Mabena is the latest addition to South Africa’s list of young writers. Reneiloe, better known as Nay, is the son of famous Kaya FM breakfast show host Bob Mabena.
Nay is fast becoming a teen trailblazer, following the launch of his book Blaze, written in the genre of young adult science-fiction. He is a refreshing young talent entering the literary scene, having started writing the seven novel series at the age of 15 on his BlackBerry.
To date he has completed three of the books in the series and is already gaining some respect in literary circles. Zandile Nzalo and Bob Mabena, Nay’s parents who have careers in journalism attribute the success of the book to Nay’s humility and family support. Bob says his son should never forget what he tells him every day when he picks him up from school; “There’s a lot of love here for you, don’t hold back, just keep up the good work”.
Nay and his family have big dreams and they want to see them grow into a valuable brand. They are currently working on securing the rights to turn the story into a PlayStation game. They hope that one day it could be reproduced as a movie and possibly a comic book.
He is also a proud student of St David’s Marist college in Sandton and is highly revered by his English teacher and headmaster, Malcom Williams, who believes that the standard of Nay’s literary project can be equated to the work of Harry Potter author, JK Rowling. “To be a successful writer you need to be imaginative, original, hard-working and entertaining,” he said.
Some of Nay’s friends, who attended the first book launch at Montecasino in Joburg, said they were not completely surprised by the style in which the book was written because it explores many facets of Nay’s personality and they believe they can identify with it. Seventeen-year-old Dean Ralphs, Nay’s classmate, said he was surprised to find out that his friend was launching a book.
“When I get a chance to read it, I’m expecting to see his funny and creative side shine through.” When asked if he thought his friend would start acting differently once he becomes an even bigger success he replied that he doesn’t believe Nay would change because he’s pretty laid back and treats everyone with respect.He
5FM DJ Kabelo “KB” Ngakane, who attended the event with his wife, said he has known Mabena since he was a toddler and shelves his copy of Blaze between his favourite fiction and self-help books.