Cape Town – Unamandla Nontswabo received a warm send-off from her fellow schoolmates and family, as she gets ready to represent South Africa at this year’s African Spelling Bee, in Uganda, this weekend.
Nontswabo is a Grade 7 learner, from Liwa Primary School in Nyanga, one of the murder capital of South Africa, and is the first time that the Western Cape qualifies for the African Spelling Bee.
In 2018, Liwa Primary School won the Growsmart literacy competition, beating 160 other schools in the Western Cape finals.
Liwa Primary School Principal, Mlungisi Fani, said the news that Nontswabo qualified for the African Spelling Bee was exciting for the school since it is located in a disadvantaged area.
"It shows that something good can come out of Nyanga and Philippi, the area where Unamandla stays, and that the learners are not defined by the fact that these areas are notorious for crime and poverty,” Mlungisi said.
Nontswabo qualified for the African Spelling Bee after a stellar performance at the finals of the Mzansi Spelling Bee earlier this month.
Unamandla’s teacher, Andrew Gumindoga, said after the Growsmart literacy competition last year, Head of Education, Brian Schreuder, identified Unamandla as someone with a bright future ahead of her.
Gumindoga said he was proud to say that Schreuder was right and that the school’s hard work to promote literacy is paying off.
Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said a total of 108 champion spellers from 18 African countries will be represented at this year’s competition.
The African Spelling Bee, founded in 2016 by ‘Spell It South Africa’ and nine other African Spelling Bee organisations, is hosting its 4th Championship in Uganda, this coming Sunday, 20th October 2019. Spellers from twenty African countries will compete for senior, junior and team prizes.
The event will also be promoting two books as part of the competition: ‘Miss Uhuru 1963‘ by Elizabeth Mumbi Madoka for the Junior category and ‘Americanah‘ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of Africa’s most celebrated contemporary authors.
The 2019 African Spelling Bee will see top spellers from 20 African nations including amongst others: Benin, Botswana, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leon, and South Africa.
The grand prize for the Championship is a full undergraduate Scholarship, to Monash South Africa, estimated at around $20,000. Other exciting prizes will also be awarded to the outstanding spellers.