South Africa’s best spellers show off skills at National WOW spelling festival
South Africa’s best spellers showed off their skills in Stellenbosch over the weekend. High and primary school learners from across the country took part in the first National Spelling Festival (Spelfees in Afrikaans) at Stellenbosch University (SU) on Saterday (20 October 2012).
“You are already a winner just because you are there,” the learners were told at the welcoming function. Learners had to win various regional and provincial legs of the competition in order to reach the final. The WOW Spelling Festival forms part of the overarching language empowering community project, Woorde Open Wêrelde (Words Open Worlds – WOW), facilitated by the University’s Woordfees (Word Festival).
The desire to improve learners’ poor reading and spelling skills is the driving force behind the Spelfees. However, the emphasis is making reading and spelling fun – as embodied by the competion’s slogan: Spel speel-speel en speel spel-spel (spell in a playful manner en play by spelling).
Learners took part in their various age groups and the winners were rewarded with medals, as well as cash and book prizes.
According to Jessica Goosen, a Grade 1 learner from Fairland Primary School in Johannesburg, she enjoyed the competition a lot. She was third in the Grade 1 category. Her sister Caitlin Goosen came third in the Grade 3 category. Their mother Alicia Goosen was very impressed with the WOW Spelfees. “It is a wonderful initiative because children spell the way they text these days,” she said.
Corli Rheeder, a Grade 10 learner at Paarl Girls High, was the winner in the Grade 10 category. She believes that cell phones have taught her how to spell. “I don’t like using abbreviations when typing an SMS and I’d rather spell out the whole word. Sometimes I don’t even understand the abbreviations my friends send me!”
Ms Valencia Jones, an English teacher at Wes-Fleur Primary in Atlantis, thinks this Afrikaans spelling competition offers a good challenge to learners who learn Afrikaans as an additional language. According to her, most of today’s children “can spell”. However, she emphasised the importance of parent involvement.
Ms Fiona van Kerwel, organiser of the WOW Spelfees, said it was wonderful to see how words really open worlds for learners. She is looking forward to seeing how this national spelling competition will grow.
1. Matthew Carelse.- Wellington Primary – Western Cape
2. Kurt Andrews – Avondale Primary – Western Cape
3. Jessica Goosen – Fairland Primary – Gauteng
1. Cohan Andrews – Paarlzicht Primary – Western Cape
2. Jadé Cloete – St. Cyprians Primary – Northern Cape
3. Chanice Holland – Dr Izak van Niekerk – Northern Cape
1. Donnay Spandiel – Kerria Primary – Western Cape
2. Carina Louw – Gericke Primary – Western Cape
3. Caitlin Goosen – Fairland Primary – Gauteng
1. Martine Odendaal – De Villiers-Graaff Primary – Western Cape
2. Elsari Strauss – Hermanus Primary – Western Cape
3. Carmi Wentzel – Tygerpoort Primary – Gauteng
1. Michelle Olivier – Hendrik Louw Primary – Western Cape
2. Saskia Bowman – Fairland Primary – Gauteng
3. Francisca Francis – Helenvale Primary – Eastern Cape
1. Liz-Mari Strauss – Hermanus Primary – Western Cape
2. Nicola van der Walt – Tygerpoort Primary – Gauteng
3. Lizette Pretorius – Curro Heuwelkruin – Limpopo
1. Audrey Perils – St. Thomas Primary – Western Cape
2. Kayla Kellerman – Paarl Gimnasium – Western Cape
3. Robyn Abrahams – Wesfleur Primary – Western Cape
1. Elani Strydom – Duineveld High School – Northern Cape
2. Gaylin Carelse – Schoonspruit Secondary – Western Cape
3. Sheune Solomans – Hornlee – Western Cape
1. Heinrich Joon – Kakamas High School – Northern Cape
2. Allison Matroos – Atlantis Secondary – Western Cape
3. Melissa Bergh – Swartland High School- Western Cape
1. Corli Rheeder – Paarl Girls High- Western Cape
2. Monique Hansen – Proteus Secondary – Western Cape
3. Nathene Adams – Worcester Secondary – Western Cape