More than 375 learners from 187 schools (Afrikaans and English, First Additional Language), from across South Africa qualified for the final round of the national Sanlam WOW Spelling Festival 2019, which will take place on 19 October at Stellenbosch University.
"The Sanlam WOW Spelling Festival is one of the Woordfees and WOW's flagship projects, and the national finals are the cherry on the cake," says Saartjie Botha, Director of the Toyota SU Woordfees and WOW project. (WOW is the acronym for Words Open Worlds.) “The spelling festival is an initiative that focuses on continuous learning and tests much more than just the learners' knowledge of language and spelling rules. It expands their vocabulary, is an excellent exercise in concentration and gives learners the confidence to talk with ease in front of people they don't know. We are privileged to welcome the learners, their teachers and parents to Stellenbosch."
Sydney Nhlanhla Mbhele, Executive Brand Manager of Sanlam, remarked that it is a great honour for Sanlam to be the named sponsor of the WOW Spelling Festival for the fifth year: “As a responsible corporate partner, Sanlam is committed to ensuring that we leave a lasting legacy in the communities that we serve. We do this by creating community value, influencing our growing business and continually evaluating our contribution to socio-economic development. We deem it important to form relationships and be associated with projects that deliver valuable contributions to communities."
Fiona van Kerwel, the WOW project manager, commented that the feedback she receives about the spelling festival is a prime motivator for her and her team. They travel throughout the country to ensure that the various rounds of the competition – from school level, through to the circle, district and provincial levels – run smoothly. “Throughout the country, educators, parents and education departments attest to the fact that the WOW Spelling Festival helps young learners to sharpen their language skills and build self-confidence. At the same time they have a lot of fun as they practice, spell and learn. As one learner put it: 'The spelling festival gives me the words to describe, understand and work.'"
WOW supports multilingualism and once again offered the spelling festival in English First Additional Language for Grades 6-9 in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape. Since 2017, WOW has also offered the spelling festival in isiXhosa for Grades 6 and 7 in the four districts of the Western Cape. This year a spelling festival for Grade 3 in one of the Western Cape districts was added.
Dr. Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation at Stellenbosch University, says that the WOW National Spelling Festival is a wonderful example of a contribution to nation building: “Over the last few months learners, teachers and parents across all the provinces of our country have come together to sound and to spell. In some areas this took place in three of our official languages and everywhere else people came together irrespective of the supposed borders that separate them. Even in competition we can make friends." He is pleased that Stellenbosch can play host to the final round of this national competition that brings the rich diversity of our country together.
The national finals of the Sanlam WOW Spelling Festival will take place on Saturday 19 October at Stellenbosch University and starts at 10:00. The prize-giving will take place at 15:00 in the Adam Small Theatre complex.
To attend the event or obtain more information about the Sanlam WOW Spelling festival, contact Danie Marais at the Toyota SU Woordfees office : firstname.lastname@example.org of 083 325 3433.