Nerena matriculated from President High School in 1986. She obtained a BA degree in English and Geography from the University of Pretoria and then joined the Navy. She worked as a Naval Officer in the Directorate International Conflict at Military Intelligence and then then went on to work as a committee secretary for SIMRAC at the Chamber of Mines, before moving abroad in 1997. She resided in the Middle East for 15 years, where she raised her 2 children and taught both preschool and adult English. She returned to settle in Somerset West in 2012.