SADC Secondary School Essay Competition winners announced

Secondary school learners from all 16 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States participated in the 22nd edition of the 2021 Secondary School Essay Competition in their respective countries. Each candidate receives the equivalent of the prize money in South African Rands. The SADC Secretariat has allocated a sum of US $1000 as prize money for the national winners of the competition in each Member State as follows: US $500 for the first prize; US $300 for the second prize; and US $200 for the third prize winner.

The top three winners of the national South African leg of the 2021 South African Development Community (SADC) were recently announced. In first place was Mr Mbuyelo Light Dzumeri from Nghonyama Secondary School in the Limpopo Province; in second place was Ms Jordan-Sarah Langenhoven from Leap Maths and Science School in the Western Cape Province; and in third place was Ms Emmie Mogadime, Matshumane Secondary School, also in the Limpopo Province. Ms Mogadime also came 8th in the regional leg of the Competition.

“There were several factors that motivated me to enter the competition. I was also keen to know as much as possible about the SADC Region, its achievements and challenges. Our History teacher, Mr P.E. Sedutla, explained to us what the essay competition entailed and encouraged us to take part. He also facilitated access to the Internet using the school Wi-Fi. I learned that the SADC Region had many challenges. Regional economic integration is hampered by mismanagement, corruption and lack of political will. I also learned that economic migrants flocked to South Africa because of poor economic conditions and human rights violations in their countries. The Competition enhanced my knowledge about current affairs in the region and on the continent. Participation may open doors of opportunities as it has financial incentives. In addition, it has taught me self-confidence and I have learned that determination, diligence, focus and commitment are required for one to succeed in life. I have acquired many skills: research; interview; writing; and reading skills.  I'll spend my winnings by spoiling myself, saving some money so that I can purchase essentials for my studies. I'm currently studying LLB at the North-West University. The Competition has taught me that everything is possible.”  – Mr Mbuyelo Light Dzumeri

“I was introduced to the Competition by my English teacher, Miss Sam da Silva. I was familiar with the SADC as an organisation, after reading The African Union: Autocracy, Diplomacy and Peacebuilding in Africa, edited by Timothy Murithi and Tony Karbo. I learned about how strong the relationship between African countries was in the past, and that it took a collaborative African effort to obtain independence for many member states, and that the fight for peace in Africa is an ongoing one. I learned about how the past shapes the present, and how sexism and gender inequality is a constant throughout pre- and post-colonial Africa, and that independence and liberation neglected the role and needs of African women. I am going to allocate the reward money towards my tertiary studies. I am currently enrolled for a programme in Environment and Development at Stellenbosch University. What drew me to this programme was that the core disciplines include Geography and the Environment, Social Anthropology, Public and Development Management and Environmental Economics. I am interested in resource management for the future, and especially human-nature relationships for steady progress towards sustainable living. The Competition has taught me that I should never doubt my own ability; this lesson is something that I want to apply throughout my tertiary career, to alleviate any feelings of imposter syndrome. I definitely adopted the habit of scheduled writing.” – Ms Jordan-Sarah Langenhoven

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be part of the competition. So, when I told my cousin about the competition, he told me that the prize is a life changing opportunity. That’s when I decided to give it a go. Our former English teacher, Ms Matlala, was the one who introduced the competition to us. The competition itself has allowed me to think outside the box. The topic has allowed me to learn more about Southern African countries and that their determination to overcome poverty and to helping their fellow citizens to rise above mutual challenges at all costs. We do not know if we are going to make it, but we do it anyway. We all know the consequences of failure, but we’d rather take the risk, because we know there’s a chance we can prosper. I will use the money to buy myself a new smartphone and I will be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Senior Phase education at Wits University. I learned that I am a strong and brave girl. Taking part in the competition was not easy, especially if you are a matriculant and lacking resources. I had to keep up with my competitors and my schoolwork simultaneously. As for the skills, I have learnt how to handle pressure, multitasking and delivering on time as these were my challenges before the Competition”. – Ms Emmie Mogadime

The SADC Competition was established in 1996 to encourage learners in the Region to understand and advocate the SADC’s role in support of equality, freedom, social justice, peace and security. The topic for the 2021 SADC Secondary School Essay Competition was: How has SADC contributed to peace and security of the region in the last 40 years and how can SADC consolidate peace going forward? Congratulations to the winners on behalf of the DBE. 

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