Learners from twenty-four schools across the Northern Cape participated in the regional Spelling Bees, held in De Aar and Kimberley this past weekend. The winners and runners up from the competitions are invited to try out for the South African Team that will be going through to compete at the African Spelling Bee Championships, which is being held in Kampala, Uganda later this year.
The African Spelling Bee, founded in 2016 by Spell It South Africa and nine other African Spelling Bee organisations, is now hosting its 4th Championship in Uganda, this coming October. Spellers from twenty African countries will compete for senior, junior and team prizes.
“The African Spelling Bee is a celebration of the African Child, inspiring them to be literate and creating a platform to build confidence. We are truly proud to play a small part in this and hope to see a Northern Cape learner on the team that will head to Kampala, later this year,” said Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director for Droogfontein Solar Power and De Aar Solar Power, funders of this regional Spelling Bees.
The top shortlisted ‘spellers’ from across Kimberley, Riverton, Ritchie and Barkley West areas, participated in the regional event that is funded as part of Droogfontein Solar Power’s literacy programme. Whilst De Aar Solar power funded the Spelling Bee, which took place over the same weekend, drawing top spellers from Hanover, Britstown, Philipstown and De Aar.
Afrikaans, Setswana and isiXhosa are now included in the Spelling Bee alongside English , making it more accessible for many of the learners, plus participants are provided with Nalibali reading materials to help them prepare for the event.
“Spelling Bees actually test reading, not a memory, so learners should therefore prepare for these types of events by increasing their reading and understanding of how words are constructed and how letter sounds work together,” explained Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director of Droogfontein Solar Power.
This event forms part of Droogfontein Solar Power and De Aar Solar Powers’ ongoing ‘learn-ready literacy programme that supports the Department of Education’s literacy objectives. Furthermore, the prior selection process ensures that the standard of the Spelling Bee is kept in line with national and international standards.
The Kimberley contest first prize went to Tshegofatso Mojanaga, from Beacon Primary School, the second and third places were awarded to Boingotlo Kopeledi, from Kimgolo Primary School and Victor-Lee Kruger, from Barkley West Primary School. The winning word was ‘laundromat’.
The De Aar contest first prize was jointly won, going to Immanuel Stuurman front Kareeville Primary and Ashley Pienaar, from Van Rensburg Primary School, the second prize was awarded to Monwabisi Sonamzi, The winning word was ‘misunderstanding’.
“It is important that our learners have the opportunity to learn and compete in a supportive environment and gain skills such as improved memory and the art of presenting in public,” concluded Radebe.
A spelling bee is a competition in which contestants are asked to spell a broad selection of words, usually with a varying degree of difficulty. These competitions are recognised as offering a range of benefits, from higher confidence to better vocabulary.
These types of competitions not only provide a valuable educational experience for the participating learners, but also allow them to engage in healthy competition. Other benefits derived from this fun activity include team building, improved grammar, building a competitive spirit, increased knowledge of the origin of words, developing cognitive skills including the ability to handle pressure; and most importantly, these events help to boost a child’s confidence level as they gain self-assurance through learning to speak in public.