Grade 4 pupils at Intwasahlobo Primary School have been applauded for their writing skills and knowledge of current social issues.
Intwasahlobo pupils had been invited by the University of Cape Town to write short stories for the My Pandemic South Africa story workbook at the end of last year.
The three pupils who came up tops were acknowledged before being presented with accolades and gifts on Thursday.
Speaking at the event, UCT’ School Improvement Initiative manager Dr Patti Silbert commended the school and said she was excited about the skills the young pupils had shown.
“This is an exemplary school. We are proud to partner with it. Young as they are, these children wrote beautiful essays. They are our future leaders. They are our heroes,” she said.
Dr Silbert encouraged the children to engage with social and current issues that they are facing and urged them to continue writing on their own. “Never ever stop writing and reading. Write about anything. If you can write, it means you can write about your dreams and live them,” she told the pupils.
She also thanked the teaching staff and their principal for instilling the love for reading and writing in young people.
School principal Sam Sehloho said the university had trained and empowered his staff. “They support not only us but most Khayelitsha schools. They empower teachers of Khayelitsha and that is a big plus for us as Ntwasahlobo. We have used the opportunity to our advantage. We are happy to be part of such an institution,” he told Vukani.
Mr Sehlobo added that the institution had deployed social workers to work with children and teachers at the school. Among the challenges they had to deal with, he said, was substance abuse.
Of the recognition his pupils go, he said he was delighted that her school was Khayelitsha’s overall winner in the intiative. He also applauded his children for using story writing as an opportunity to develop their writing skills and knowledge.
Department of Education, Metropole East representative Agnes Ntaba said it was important that children kept writing, especially during the lockdown.
“My plea to the parents is to always encourage children to write and read before going to bed,” she said.
“Encourage them to write, even if it is just one verse. During our time we had music books where we would write lyrics. That helped us a lot. From them we want writers of note.”
One of the pupils, Asive Faleni, told Vukani that while she enjoyed writing, she wanted to be a soldier in future. Asked about her essay, she said she wrote about her helpful friends and the friendship they shared during the pandemic.