Grade 5- learner, Malakia Mapheto from Dikolobe Primary School in Man-kweng finished third in the National Spelling Bee Competition for intermediate phase learners presented by the Department of Basic Education at Sci-bono Discovery Centre, Johannesburg recently.
Spelling Bee South Africa started in 2013 and is part of a broader comprehensive strategy to address the poor performance by learners in grades 4 to 6 in languages as shown by the Annual National Assessments results.
Limpopo was represented by three learners, two of whom were eliminated in the fourth round. Malakia obtained position three out of 27 spellers from across the country. He won R1 000 in cash and a R500 shopping voucher. The competition was tough, until the elimination round, when the word ‘statistician’ unseated most participants leaving only three learners in the contest. During a telephonic interview on Tuesday Malakia said ‘manoeuvre’ was the most difficult word to spell. It was the second time in his life that he went to Johannesburg and the most exciting thing that happened to him was seeing some of the Muvhango celebrities at the SABC when visiting the studios. Dikolobe Primary School’s Principal, Stephen Thabane, said he was very proud of Malakia, who did exceptionally well by even beating learners whose mother tongue was English.
After winning the first round in Limpopo in July, Malakia won a Vodacom tablet, Oxford Dictionary, a certificate and trophy and some books to read. He said he read a lot and worked hard to master the 1 500 words they were required to know. Grade 6 learner, Erin Sloane from Greenfields Girls’ Primary in Cape Town was the winner and received, among other prizes, an undergraduate scholarship. Fellow grade sixer, Sumayia Shaikh from Pioneer Primary in Benoni took second place.
“Although the competition was tough, Malakia managed to represent Limpopo province very well. The Department of Education is very proud of young learners such as the hardworking Malakia,” Naledzani Rasila, Communications Manager of the Department of Education said.