Sol Plaatje University has for the first time ever participated in the FUNDA MZANTSI CHAMPIONSHIP (FMC) Elimination, a reading competition, hosted by the National Library of South Africa (NSLA).
On 13 August 2019, SPU together with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and the Department of Education (DoE) showcased their talents in reading.
The main purpose of FMC is to encourage people to read widely, instil a love for languages and to encourage people to read and speak in their indigenous languages.
The NSLA, through its outreach unit, the Centre for the Book (CFB) started the project in response to a survey conducted by the South African Book Development Council in 2007, on general reading habits in South African communities.
The report of the survey revealed that South Africa is not a reading nation. The CFB, therefore, decided to intervene by way of establishing book clubs in communities, schools, universities and correctional centres, that will compete against one another in a national competition.
The SPU School of Education established their book club earlier this year.
The event took place in the Library Auditorium where Dr Richard Moloele, a Setswana lecturer at SPU, explained that they were building a team to take care of indigenous languages.
He appealed to students to read books in African languages and pursue African languages up to the Doctorate level.
SPU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Prof Jean Baxen, explained that language is part of our identity and we need to speak indigenous languages such as Setswana and IsiXhosa to ensure that the languages do not die out.
She urged students not to think of their African languages as a disadvantage but rather to see it as an advantage that other people in South Africa do not have.
She encouraged students to feel privileged to be multilingual and never forget where they come from because language is integrally tied to our identity.
SPU Head of School of Education, Dr Audrey Msimanga, said that language is as important as Science.
She added that as a lecturer, if you are teaching students about biology, having the ability to speak and explain in a way that students understand you, is vital.
A message can be lost during a lecture when a student does not understand certain words, leading them to fail or struggle in subjects. But when we speak to students in a language they understand and identify with, they can excel.
A total of 20 students participated in the competition. The various categories of the competition include Reading, Debating, Book Reviewing and a Spelling Bee.
SPU students were given prescribed books to read for the competition.
The books included: All Quiet on the Western Front by Vintage Remarqhe (English), Beknopte Geskiedenis van die Nederlandse Letterkunde by Dr E Rijpma (Afrikaans), Kwezo Mpinda ZeTsitsa by A.C Jordan (IsiXhosa) and Bo Tsholwa Bo Le Molelo by B.M Molefo (Setswana).
Students had two minutes in each category to read, do a book review, spell words correctly, and/or debate.
Four panellists judged students on their pronunciation, articulation, posture, eye contact and coherence.
Judges on the panel included Mr Hammer (retiree and former school Principal) Mr Thabiso Maoba (from DSAC- Language Practitioner), Mr Vuyo Mbandezi (DSAC- language practitioner), Mr OJ Malefo (DCS: Tswelopele Management Area and the coordinator of FUNDA MZANTSI in the Northern Cape and Free State DCS).
SPU awarded the following categories:
- For Setswana reading positions 1, 2 and 3 were awarded to Thato Mokwatsi, Keabetswe Mmuhela and Thato Gaetsietsi.
- In English reading positions 1, 2 and 3 were awarded to Magasenna Ndamane, Katlego Paul, Lewellyn Phillips.
- In IsiXhosa reading, positions 1, 2 and 3 were awarded to Nonkululeko Ndaba, Magasenna Ndamane, Jack Hermans.
- In Afrikaans reading positions 1, 2 and 3 were awarded to Constance Thomas, Obakeng Kock, Lurits Mngomezulu.
- Position 1, 2 and 3 in Setswana Book Review were awarded to Thato Mokwatsi, Thato Gaetsietsi, Tshireletso Galogate
- The English Book review was awarded to Ayanda Nombela.
The 13 SPU students and some of the staff members will travel to George, between 22 and 27 September 2019, to compete in the National Funda Mzantsi Reading Championship.