THIRTY–EIGHT students from schools across the country yesterday walked away with various prizes after the stories they submitted for the Cover–to–Cover Short Story Writing Competition were adjudged to the best.
The competition was co-ordinated by Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), publishers of NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent, Standard and Southern Eye.
The winners were drawn from schools in Harare, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Wedza and Marondera with the overall prize going to Pindile Malaba of Peterhouse Girls in Marondera, who was awarded, among other gifts, a tablet phone for her efforts.
Competition editor Tangai Chipangura said the majority of the entries demonstrated good storytelling skills although some of the submissions could be improved.
“I have no doubt in my mind, none whatsoever, that we have among you very good authors, writers and journalists just waiting to be peeled out of their shells, the process of which has begun through the enthusiasm shown in your participation in this essay competition,” he said.
Chipangura, who is also Deputy Editor of The Standard, urged school authorities to ensure that the creative talent unearthed through the competition would not go to waste, but should ensure that there was budget allocation for libraries and the promotion of “a good and healthy reading culture”. “I must commend those schools that have school magazines published regularly. That is one of the best ways to encourage budding writers,” he said.
The competition, which has been conducted by The Standard newspaper since 2006, was bankrolled by the Culture Fund and the Swedish Embassy.
Culture Fund executive director Farai Mupfunya acknowledged the student writers, their parents and teachers who encouraged them in their creative endeavours for their good work.
He also saluted the Harare City Library management committee for their role and AMH for creating a platform for students to demonstrate their writing skills.
The panel of judges was made up of Jerry Zondo, Ethel Kabwato and Eresina Hwende, who presented the judges’ report.
Hwende said although this year’s entries were fewer than those of last year, the judges were amazed by many of the students’ lack of appreciation of life in the rural areas. She said in many of the stories in the Life in the Village category, pupils wrote of their experiences at places such as Sam Levy’s Village in Harare.