Local learners make reading their superpower

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By GEMMA RITCHIE

School pupils across the Sarah Baartman district gathered on Wednesday morning, August 21, to compete in debating, general knowledge and in three languages (Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa): Spelling Bees, reading and book reviews at Nonkqubela Library, Alexandria, in Ndlambe municipality.

The event was in celebration of the 10th anniversary of national book week coming up in September and saw the best school pupils from Ndlambe, Koukama, Kouga, Sundays River Valley, Makana, Dr Beyers Naude and Blue Crane compete.

“Sitting in front of us are our future leaders,” said Ndlambe Mayor Khululwa Ncamiso, a former foundation phase teacher. She spoke about the importance of establishing a love of reading at an early stage so that children will not struggle in the intermediate phases of school and will succeed later on in life. 

Stories have always played an important role in the development of children.

“In the olden days we used to sit around the fireplace and our mamas would make stories for us. They were oral historians. They would narrate stories to us until we fell asleep,” said Sarah Baartman district head for the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, said Hastings Mqhayi.

“We no longer hear stories around the fire, but we can read them to our children. As we meet today, we are responding to a national call where we collect books to be read by children,” said Mqhayi. He explains the importance of reading as a tool to impart knowledge through the ages. “There is a power in reading,” said Mqhayi. 

“The purpose of today is to plant a seed that will grow for years to come,” said Mqhayi where readers will become the leaders of tomorrow.

In the short term, the district competition is a great way for school pupils across the seven municipalities to grow in confidence.

“It’s good for them [the school pupils]to mix with learners from other municipalities. They are coming from the farms and this helps them grow in confidence and learn to express their views,” Phumza Gogela a librarian at Koukama told Grocott’s Mail

The best pupils picked from the local Makana competition held at Hill Street Library on Monday, August 19, made the municipality proud on Wednesday as they competed in a variety of competitions. 

In the book review, school pupils were given two minutes to explain why one book should be read over another.

The judges said the pupils had performed well but some had to learn not to be overcome by stage fright.

 While, in the Spelling Bee, pupils were given a minute to spell each word with a chance to ask for clarity on the meaning and for the word to be used in a sentence. Pupils were faced with words such as auspicious, bureaucracy, benevolence, courageous, delicious and endurance in the English Spelling Bee.

Yolisa Ndokweni, a grade nine pupil from Riebeeck East Combined School, made it to the final round of the isiXhosa Spelling Bee, outlasting her peers during a gruelling hour language test. She placed second after she was bested by grade seven Kareedouw Primary School pupil Asemahle Qwazi.

General knowledge tested both basic and advanced knowledge from the currency of South Africa to historical legislation.

For the reading, pupils prepared passages from Kufundwa ngamara by Minazana Dana, The Star Child by Unathi Magubeni and Pieternella van die kaap by Dalene Mathee.  

The debaters each had a minute to present their argument on whether education was the only way to a successful future. Makana faced Sundays River Valley municipality in the first round. Makana made it to the second round of the debate where they faced Kouga in a debate on whether the commissions established by the government were ethical or not. 

However, despite the difficulty of the topics, the judges commended the improved quality of the debates from the year before, with special mention on the debaters’ stance and the substance of their topics.

Runners up received a school bag and stationery; while winners received a book bag and a book title or a smartwatch. 

Ndlambe, Sundays River Valley and Koukama municipalities took home most of the winnings on the day with Makana placing well overall.

The top teams from Wednesday will head to the provincial competition in the Alfred Nzo district in September which will lead to the national competition later next month in George, Western Cape.

RESULTS FROM WEDNESDAY’S COMPETITION

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE
3rd position – Jerome Masinela from Dr. Beyers Naude Municipality
2nd position – Aphelele Nkwinti from Makana Municipality
1st position – Natasha Gamede from Koukamma Municipality

READING  – AFRIKAANS 
3rd position – Tameron Potgieter from Kouga Municipality
2nd position – Maisha Martins from Sundays River Valley Municipality
1st position – Amore Peterson from Dr. Beyers Naude Municipality

READING – ENGLISH
3rd position – Elaine Coenraad – from Koukamma Municipality
2nd position – Sinekamva Sandlana from Ndlambe Municipality
1st position – Zintle Fila Sundays River Valley Municipality

READING –  ISIXHOSA
3rd position – Khazimla Mankayi from Makana Municipality
2nd position – Esothando Feni from Dr. Beyers Naude Municipality
1st position – Othandwayo Veto from Ndlambe Municipality

SPELLING BEE – AFRIKAANS
3rd position – Karla Jurgens from Sundays River Valley Municipality
2nd position – Simone Jacobs from Ndlambe Municipality
1st position – Nicole Plaatjies from Dr. Beyers Naude

SPELLING BEE – ENGLISH
3rd position – Landiswa Ntamo from Makana Municipality
2nd position – Shannon Stanely from Koukamma Municipality
1st position – Banoyolo Gema from Ndlambe Municipality

SPELLING BEE – ISIXHOSA
3rd position – Lilitha Solakhe from Ndlambe Municipality
2nd position – Yolisa Ndokweni from Makana Municipality
1st position – Asemahle Qwazi from Koukamma

BOOK REVIEW – AFRIKAANS
3rd position – Shannon Swarts from Kouga Municipality
2nd position – Marli Van Zyl from Koukamma Municipality
1st position – Raynisha Williams Sundays River Valley Municipality

BOOK REVIEW – ENGLISH
3rd position – Ranique Williams from Koukamma Municipality
2nd position – Nqaba Mdedelwa from Dr. Beyers Naude Municipality
1st position – Masande Ntlokwana from Sundays River Valley Municipality

BOOK REVIEW – ISIXHOSA
3rd position – Anesiphe Hiti from Kouga Municipality
2nd position – Inathi Goni from Dr. Beyers Naude Municipality
1st position – Unako Hawu from Ndlambe Municipality

DEBATE (Was done in groups)
3rd position – Ndlambe Municipality
2nd position – Koukamma Municipality
1st position – Kouga Municipality

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