Once upon a time there was a dream, that one day Africa will come together on such a day as this to celebrate our children.Ladies and gentlemen, such a day has come. I take this opportunity to welcome you all to this very important event. The first ever African Spelling Bee.
The event is evidence that Africa has come together, although represented by a few countries here, our eyes are on all African countries.
Through the ages, we have exhibited our resilience and survived. Starting now, we exhibit our unity to succeed. The time has come for us as a people to not only survive but succeed as well. This is our time.
There is no better way to make this a reality than to invest in our children through education. More than 40% of Africa’s population is children under the age of 15. The future belongs to them. We believe with Nelson Mandela that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change their world.
We have therefore come together as a consortium of 10 Spelling Bee organisations from Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe to improve the literacy of our children and unlock their imaginations through Spelling Bees and related activities.
Together, we are reaching over 10 million learners across the continent through national spelling bees, teacher trainings, reading interventions, monitoring and other literacy interventions.
The African Spelling Bee will continue as an annual event that will be hosted by a different country every year. We invite other African Countries to engage with us to join the 2017 African Spelling Bee. We already have interest from Benin, Cameron and Rwanda.
I would like to take this opportunity to announce that the 2017 Africa Spelling Bee will be hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the home of the African Union. We are moving it from where it all started – the cradle of mankind to the home of the African Union.
As I conclude, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to:
1. Team South Africa that worked so hard in a short period of time to host this very important event.
2. To our partners, Monash South Africa, South African Airways, Fleet Africa, Vodacom, Different Ministries of Education, A Better Africa, Krugersdrop High School, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Riverstone Lodge
3. To the teachers and chaperones who have trained our students and prepared them for today
4. To the parents who left their busy schedules and choose to travel with the children to support them
5. To the mentors – the students from Monash South Africa for helping mentor the children and taking care of us all
6. And lastly to the children, who worked so hard to be here and who have done their best. Our dear Spellers you are all winners and Champions
To you all, let us go make Africa Shine!