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Entries are now open for the national Sanlam WOW Spelling Festival

It is time, once again, for the biggest spelling festival in South Africa. Entries for the 2024 Sanlam WOW Spelling Festival has opened for schools and individual learners across South Africa, in all nine provinces. Registration and participation are free and learners at any language level in three of our official languages – Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa – are invited to submit an entry in one of the following categories:

  • Afrikaans: grades 1 to 10
  • English: grades 5 to 9
  • isiXhosa: grades 6 to 8

Spelling is fun

Entry forms, spelling lists and online spelling tests, along with many other resources, can be found here. The dates and venues for the various sections will be communicated over the coming weeks. The national final is scheduled to take place on 28 September 2024 at Stellenbosch University.

The closing date for entries: 31 May

Enter and join us in bringing a programme of hope and action to thousands of children across the country. Together we can change lives.

Words have impact

The Sanlam WOW Spelling Festival forms part of the Woordfees’ Worlds Open Worlds Project (WOW), which comes of age this year. WOW has been expanding horizons for both learners and educators since 2003. The project offers creative programmes that focus on language, literature and the arts in schools. The Sanlam spelling festival gives young learners the chance to find out about Stellenbosch University and the opportunities the institution offers for continued education. WOW helps prospective Stellenbosch University students find the information they need to make good choices and apply to the university and provides bursaries for students accepted into tertiary study.

WOW also hosts an annual programme at the Toyota SU Woordfees to celebrate the value of the written and spoken word in all its forms in broadening perspectives.

Fiona van Kerwel, Project Manager for WOW, remarked that a core objective of the Sanlam WOW Spelling Festival is to empower and encourage young people to learn and to award excellence when it is achieved. These are also the values and objectives of the entire WOW Project.

“If we do not ensure that our children have a good foundational arsenal of extensive vocabulary, excellent comprehension and the ability to use words fittingly and creatively then, we are doing them an injustice,” says Fiona van Kerwel.

“The Spelling Festival is a multi-lingual platform where learners interact with words in a fun and educational way, thereby ensuring that they have a better understanding of language and ultimately are able to communicate better on all levels: whether they are listening, speaking or writing. When we encourage learners to have fun with words, we help them to overcome communication deficits in understandable, creative, and even critical ways. Apart from that, by having the learner stand up to spell out the word or sound it out, we build their self-confidence and help them to have the boldness to express themselves in a language they are comfortable with. And at the same time, it assists teachers because there are online tests they can use to keep learners engaged and practice the words with them. And we work with words that come from the curriculum of the respective grades.”

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