Team Zim departs for spellings competition

(Students: From left) Ryan Tavonga Mundende, Humayra Miya, Tashinga Chereni and Rumbidzai Patience Funani. In red blazers are Spelling Bee coaches (From left) Anna Chinyama, Molly Maredza and Teclar Jema

A ZIMBABWEAN team of six students left the country yesterday to represent the country at this year’s edition of the African Spelling Bee competitions in Kampala, Uganda.

The African Spelling Bee Championships that roared to life yesterday and ends on Sunday features 23 countries including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and South Africa.

Zimbabwean representatives drawn from the country’s primary and high schools are composed of three juniors namely Ryan Tavonga Mundende and Humayra Miya all from Goldridge Primary School in Kwekwe, and Claudia-Jean Madhombiro of Kyle Prep School in Masvingo.

The senior members are Kelly Elshaad Gutu from Springs of Grace College, Rumbidzai Patience Funani of Lomagundi College and Tashinga Chereni.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style on Tuesday on the sidelines of the send-off ceremony, the Zimbabwe National Spelling Bee director, Albert Nyathi, said the contestants were no longer representing their respective schools but had became a team to represent the country at large.

“I witnessed the students writing from the provincials to the national competitions and I am sure we are bringing this trophy,” the renowned singer-cum-poet said.

Nyathi said the competition helped the children to improve their word bank and vocabulary which increased their capacity to communicate. He said the competition had improved the students’ confidence.

Zimbabwe’s National Spelling Bee co-ordinator Eneresi Chimsora, who is accompanying the team alongside Molly Maredza and Teclar Jema said, Zimbabwe had been attending the competitions before, but not on a bigger scale like this year’s competitions.

One of the team’s coaches, Anna Chinyama, believes the students are well taught to sail through in the competition.

“In our preparations we looked at all the lists of past words we have had over the years because English words will never change, so we were going through those words ensuring that the students familiarise themselves with them,” she said.

Chinyama said there were, however, some areas of focus such as names of dinosaurs, greetings in different languages and medical terms.

With the help of Google browsing, she said, they had been focusing on one area per day learning as many spellings as possible.

“It was a bit challenging working without a proper given list, but it was funny as we browsed on the internet. We came through some words we could hardly pronounce,” she said.

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