Masiyile High School were crowned champions of the Khayelitsha Spelling Bee, on Wednesday September 6, at the Khayelitsha library.
The school defeated Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School and Joe Slovo High School in the contest.
Each school was represented by four pupils.
Khayelitsha senior librarian Vuyo Rani-Njambatwa said the aim was to make the spelling bee an annual event.
“We are not doing it for high schools only but for the primary school as well. We do this to improve their literacy, but mostly to get them together and know each other. We have a problem of children fighting each other for nonsense like territories. We we want to kick that away. We want them to appreciate each other and know they are the future of this country,” said Ms Rani-Njambatwa.
She said the competition helped empower young people in reading, self confidence, writing and speaking.
“We are obviously heading in the right direction to help our own children to have confidence in themselves. I am grateful to all the schools that attended because the children that were here are now aware what is expected from them. Surely they will pass the information to those who were not here. By so doing there will be interest from others.
“Teachers too know what their children should prepare. We are thankful to the teachers who sent their children and those who came to support them here,” she said.
Councillor Thando Mpengesi said the schools were separated by borders but were united by the fact that they were from one area.
He encouraged the library to organise more similar events. He said he was happy that the competition showed friendly rivalry.
“There are no losers and winners here. We want them to help others. The aim should be to help them unite behind each other in a friendly way.
“Children are very important to us, belting out words in an attempt to be the top speller gives us hope for the a better future.
“We should at all times encourage them to do things in a brotherly way. What I like about the schools that are here is that they are in a triangle. That means they will stop the fights they usually have,” he said.
An ecstatic Masiyile High School teacher Samukelo Nombembe said she was happy that her pupils participated in the event.
“These are competitions that empower children mentally. I am happy that they have seen the stage and the questioning around everything. We always encourage them to participate in competitions. That they have won will boost their confidence more,” she said.
Participants were encouraged by Nal’ibali’s Thando Mkoyi who said should they continue with such competitions and their reading skills and intelligence would improve immensely.
“You cannot spell if you do not read. That is a fact. We have a literacy crisis in the country. Children cannot express themselves. But with competitions like spelling bees, we will see many of them empowered.
“As parents and teachers we have a role to play here. We need to encourage our children to read,” he said.