The Royal Spelling Bee Lesotho has been invited to be part of the first-ever African Spelling Bee competition scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, in July this year.
Nine countries namely Kenya,Malawi,Nigeria,Botswana,Ethiopia,South Africa,Zimbabwe ,Uganda and Lesotho are expected to battle for the $20 000 grand prize undergraduate scholarship at Monash University South Africa. Delegates from Spelling Bee organisations of their respective countries will participate in a three-day workshop in Johannesburg next month. The event will be spearheaded by Spell it Africa in partnership with Monash University.
During their stay, delegates will visit potential venues for the competition and tourist attractions, as well as take part in various media engagements. Lesotho will be represented by Miss Tsebo Grace Moketa, the founder of Spelling Bee Foundation in Lesotho.
Moketa recalled she started the Foundation at a time when she was going through a lot of pain in her life. She had won a vice-chancellor’s scholarship the previous year to study medicine at Manchester Metropolitan University in England.
But the scholarship would only cover part of her expenses so she knocked on every door to try to raise additional funding but unfortunately, the course began before she could raise enough. After this Moketa decided to come up with the idea of setting up Spelling Bee Foundation.
“I realised that during the university and scholarship application process, English and community service was a big part of my motivation. I had been running a free tutoring programme at home, which was dedicated to children who couldn’t afford a tutor but needed one,” she told Public Eye.
She added she had always wanted to do something that would help other young people develop to the best of their potential. This would also help her to grow and complete that part of her that was missing.
Out of Moketa’s efforts came straight A students. One of them is Ponts’o Nthoane, who is currently studying at Mabathoana High School.
Nthoane is now being sponsored by the His Majesty the King’s Foundation. Motivated by her outstanding grades and other contributing factors, Moketa knew she had the potential to make a change in her community while pursuing her dreams.
That gave birth to the Royal Spelling Bee and her becoming a founding member of the African Spelling Bee.
Moketa who is still working tirelessly together with her partner Michael Reeve, who is a teacher consultant.
Reeve noted that the African Spelling Bee is a great opportunity for Basotho children as it encourages and instills in them “a studying culture that will transform their lives and mentality forever”.
Having chosen the three finalists, namely Raunak Sadia, from Montessori Primary School, Mathe Tseuoa from Lesia Primary School, and Morapedi Tsoeu from Tiny Tots Primary, who will represent Lesotho at the African Spelling Bee, Moketi is confident that they will excel given the continuous perseverance each finalist has shown.
These finalists were chosen from the National Spell Bee competition which was held in February and came up top three. A programme has been developed to train them and get them ready for the big competition. It is expected to equip them with the vocabulary they need to master in the education system at different levels and in different fields of study, Moketi noted.
“This African Spelling Bee is an opportunity for Basotho companies and organizations to become partners and sponsor towards this life-changing event. Sponsorship will see us being able to travel to South Africa with our finalists and also to continue with the spelling Bee here in Lesotho,” Moketa indicated.