Four learners from Elim Senior Secondary School demonstrated their exceptional skills at the 13th Funda Mzantsi Championship in George recently. In the photo (front row), from left to right, are learners Valentine Makhubele, Phindulo Ndou, Mukumela Tshikhudo, Xitshembiso Baloyi, Kwetsimani Maluleke, and Deputy Principal Oscar Ramaru. In the back row  are coordinator Ms Julia Mashau, Principal Tinyiko Nkatingi, Mr Norris Nkombyani (teacher), and Deputy Principal Stephen Mashimbyi. Photo: Thembi Siaga.

Elim Secondary celebrates another Funda Mzantsi victory


Four Grade 10 and 11 learners from Elim Senior Secondary School have once again proven their mettle by securing top positions at the 13th Funda Mzantsi Championships, which were held in George in the Western Cape from 2 to 6 October.

Funda Mzantsi is not a competition to determine who can read the most books in the shortest time, but a celebration of the dedication and passion that readers bring to each page they turn. As a result, the programme champions the importance of critical thinking, empathy, and the pursuit of knowledge.

This year’s championship kicked off on a high note as more than 290 inmates from correctional centres all over the country competed against various community book clubs, university students, and school learners. These inmates not only read for their own pleasure but also to contribute to a more informed, compassionate, and connected society.

The participants were evaluated in four categories, including impromptu reading, debating, a spelling bee, and book reviewing.

Elim Senior Secondary’s dedicated learners, known for their unwavering commitment to excellence, left an indelible mark on the competition, showcasing their knowledge, skill, and determination in an impressive display.

Phindulo Ndou and Mukumela Tshikhudo won a gold trophy in the Tshivenda Debate and Reading category, while Xitshembiso Baloyi and Kwetsimani Maluleke won gold in the Xitsonga Reading and Review category. Elim Senior Secondary also claimed the overall first place for Xitsonga and Tshivenda.

Phindulo, who is in the eleventh grade, said they had worked hard to defend their title of the previous year. “We are very excited to have retained our title as winners, despite the challenges and last-minute preparations,” she said.

The school’s coordinator, Ms Julia Mashau, had only high praise for the learners. “Our school is so proud of our learners, and although we faced a shortage of books, we still managed to secure the overall top position in Xitsonga and Tshivenda,” she said.


Entertainment - Date: 19 October 2023

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Thembi Siaga

Thembi Siaga started as an intern during 2021. He assisted with video photography and editing. He also produced numerous small documentaries, focusing on the Vhembe region and its people. Currently he works as a freelance journalist, covering stories in the Elim area.

Thembi studied at the Tshwane University of Technology, where he completed his diploma in Journalism in 2021.