The New Age - 30 November 2016
From a humble background, author wants to get into TV and that's the next goal her sights are set on
SOWETO born author Nonhlanhla Mnisi 27, celebrates the milestone of having published seven books by the age 27 tomorrow.
Mnisi recently launched her latest book The Praised Breadwinner. This novel is to be produced into a fourpart feature film series for television in the near future. Her journey is sheer testimony of resilience, determination and drive.
The assertive author, ghostwriter, publicist, motivational speaker and TV/radio producer lost her mother to an HIVAids related disease at the tender age of 12. Her father died while she was still in her mother's womb. Nonetheless, none of those tragic events were enough to deter her from achieving and living her dream. "The journey started when I was 21 years when I published my first book in the UK. Three years later I wrote three more books and carried over the same theme the following years being five books at 25 years, six books at 26 and, last month seven books at 27 years. "So the idea is to carry on and get to 10 books at the age of 30 and then decide whether I continue with this," she said.
Her first six books were Life Changes, Shades of My Brutality, Stained for a Season, Cleansed for Life, Overdue Resignation, A Good Woman/Man but Not a Great Partner and Township To City. Six of her seven books were written in less than seven days while the longest was her fifth book, A Good Woman/Man But Not A Great Partner, which took her two months. "It took me longer because I had to do a lot of research and conduct numerous interviews as the book carries 26 coauthors," she said. Mnisi talks about relationship dynamics in the book, which includes contributions by some of the best South African authors and speakers on the subject of relationships, namely Thabo Mokwele, Linda Yende, Dr David Molapo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Zama Mkosi, Claudine and Jerry Mofokeng and Dr Babalwa FundaKaMabhoza.
A quick run through her titles shows she is able to write about any subject, something she attributes to her love of research. In fact, this year alone, she has ghostwritten four books. "I started ghost writing two years ago and I've written about nine books so far. I always say I can make someone an author in seven days. I sit and gather content for three days and I need four days to put together a book," she said.
And one thing that stands out about her work is that she does it with such excellence. "I lean on the spiritual side a lot. The Bible says 'whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your heart'," she said. While seven books at age 27 fascinates many as a milestone, Mnisi refuses to glory in that feat, saying she yearns to do a lot more. "I feel there's room for more. I haven't arrived where I want to be. More is still available!"
She adds that her heart's desire is to get one of her books prescribed in the syllabus of South African schools. Interestingly, between the ages 21 and 23, she did not write anything. "I shut down and I focused on work and the corporate world and writing somehow crept back, leading to my resignation later," she said.
Her writing journey started off in a dramatic way. "I always loved reading as a child and when my mom passed away in 2000 to an HIVrelated illness, I was writing, cursing the disease. My writing developed from there," she said. Thereafter, she spoke at seminars about the HIV scourge. Her prudent message to singles has always been: "Keep your marriage bed pure." Mnisi feels a little harddone by local bookstores, who, in some cases, take up to 72% of her profits from book sales. "In some stores they take 72% of the profit. "However, praises to Skoobs Bookstore that deducts only 45% from the retail price."
She also reads material by other authors and most of it is spiritual. She enjoys books by American author Stormie Omartian and local author Segametsi Moumakwa. "If there's one person I look up to, it's Shonda Rhimes. I see myself doing what she does," she said.
Rhimes is an American television producer, writer and author and is best known as the creator, head writer, executive producer of the television medical drama Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. The foreword for the book Praised Breadwinner was written by the deputy Minister for the Department of Communications, Stella NdabeniAbrahams. In the foreword, NdabeniAabrahams writes of her.commitment to support Mnisi in her pursuit to produce more literary content "which speaks to invigorating the country's moral fibre".
"The Praised Breadwinner is indeed a great contribution by a young woman who seeks to make us never to forget, never to normalise abnormalities for we seem to have turned a blind eye." Ndabeni Abrahams believes the book speaks to the preservation of culture, rebuilding of the family structure and moral regeneration.
"In a society where social ills have woven their way into our culture, we have become all too familiar with undesirable phenomena such as unemployment, poverty, crime, racism, substance abuse and dysfunctional families; amongst others. As a nation, we are subverted by fractured families, mainly characterised by absent fathers and single mothers," NdabeniAbrahams writes. Mnisi has previously engaged with renowned individuals who include Thami Ngubeni on Radio 2000. She has also been invited as a guest to different radio stations, including: Talk Radio 702 (Overnight Live), SA FM's Afternoon Talk, PM Live with Tsepiso Makwetla and Living Sounds with Khanyi Magubane.
The prolific writer is also no stranger to local television screens and continues to feature in a myriad of different shows such as Youth, Women, Spiritual talks.
Speaking of the #FeesMustFall campaign by university students, Mnisi, who studied through a NSFAS loan at the University of Zululand, believes a realistic move would be to lower the fees. "You won't value your education if it.comes for free. Who has ever valued anything that came for free?"
During her spare time, she watches movies and television series. "I'm a movie addict and a series freak. It.comes up in my writing."
One of her most memorable moments was when she got promoted from Standard 6 to 8 after excelling in Standard 8 tests. "My aunt would wake me up at 3am every day to pray and after that I'd study from 4am to 6.30am. At the end of the year, I got totals and I was moved to Standard 8. I've no idea what goes on in Standard 7," she laughed.
She recalls how difficult life was especially during her university years, but believes it was the challenges she went through that moulded her into the person she is today. Her passion for giving back to the community is informed by her conviction that though she cannot change the whole world at once, she can always change someone's world.
What they say:
Nonhlanhla is selfless. She will sacrifice even if she doesn't have much. A number of times people have approached her with a need and she has given, knowing she will remain with nothing. She is a woman of faith. She knows that even if she takes the last of what she has to give, God will provide for her." Bridgette Ngobese, cancer survivor
Nonhlanhla is a motivated girl and a gogetter, she doesn't sit and feel sorry for herself. She is an orphan but she never allowed that to be a limitation. She is an epitome of hope. Her story says to me 'you may.come from the most difficult background but when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, you ought to push'. At 27 she has written seven books. She is such an inspiration to me." Yvonne Chaka Chaka
Nonhlanhla is a strong young woman, hardworking, passionate. She has a big heart and it gets her in trouble with me quite often. I've learnt forgiveness from her. She is good in reconciling with people and has the ability to meet people at different levels in life and still gel with all of them." Tsholofelo Sefike, psychologist
Facts and figures
NONHLANHLA Mnisi was born on November 30, 1988. She grew up in Soweto. At the age of 12 she lost her mother to HIVAids. After matriculating in 2004, she stayed at home for a year then left to pursue her studies at the University of Zululand where she obtained her undergraduate degree, a B Com in banking and honours in business management.
She is a published author of seven books and has also ghostwritten nine books. Her first book, titled Life Changes, is a collection of motivational poems which signify the phases in life we all go through. Her second book, Shades of My Brutality, is an autobiography consisting of 11 chapters of her journey in the seasons of life, sharing the valley and mountain top experiences of the past 24 years. Her third book is a short story about her mentor back at varsity, Bridgette Ngobese, who survived colon cancer. Her fourth book, Overdue Resignation, is a motivational work that speaks of the things and habits people perpetuate which should have long been abandoned. Her fifth book, A Good Woman/Man But Not A Great Partner, is a.compilation of other people's thoughts. She then launched her second most recent book, titled Township To City, which chronicles her journey into filmmaking after receiving a partial bursary in the US.
She has previously been involved with different NGOs such as Cotlands, and the Amazing Grace Children's Home where she served as the chairperson of the board. Mnisi was honoured as a recipient of the Golden Key International 2015.
She was appointed as content producer for Mbokodo, which is a women's talk show on Soweto TV, a division of Urban Brew Studios. She has worked with.community radio station Jozi FM where she assisted with book reviews of local authors. Mnisi has also been part of the content production team on Metro FM's breakfast show known as The First Avenue, presented by Glen and Unathi and also worked as a researcher and scriptwriter for SABC1's entrepreneur show, Making Moves.
She is one of the presenters and executive producers of The Womb on Tshwane TV and DSty channel 341 Faith Africa. Mnisi recently joined Ogilvy & Mather as a TV producer and says she clearly loves her job.
DETERMINED WORDSMITH: Tragic events such as losing her parents at a young age did not deter Nonhlanhla Mnisi from achieving her dream of publishing books.
Mnisi has 7 books at age 27
MTHOKOZISI DUBE TOWNSH To CITY
AMBITIOUS: Nonhlanhla Mnisi has recently launched her seventh book titled The Praised Breadwinner.