Malawi sends only 1 representative to Africa Spelling Bee


Organisers of the country’s National Spelling Bee Master have bemoaned lack of support as they failed to send enough representatives to this year’s Africa Spelling Bee held in South Africa on Saturday.

Last year, the country did well when it sent representatives in all the categories but, this time around, only one self-sponsored representative made and contested in the junior category.

National Spelling Master Co-founder, Lewis Mbaula, who is also the coordinator of the Africa Spelling Bee, said they were supposed to send six representatives, three each in the senior and junior categories.


“It’s really a challenge for us because this year, instead of sending six representatives, only one made it. Actually, the one who went there was self-sponsored. We tried to get support by sending proposals in good time but nothing fruitful came out,” Mbaula said.

The country was to be represented in the senior category by Lerato Assedi from Mkwichi Secondary School, Vanessa Sherry from Blantyre Baptist Academy and Dorica Chiumia from Darlo Girls Secondary School.

In the junior category, the country was to be represented by Clara Useni from Wisdom Centre Primary, Kutemwa Nyasulu from Bedir and Violet Mlilima from Baptist Christian Primary.


“Each country was represented by six students save for Malawi, as we could not raise [money for] air tickets despite knocking on different doors for support. We only had Violet Mlilima in the junior category,” Mbaula said.

He said the 12-year old student, who is in Standard Seven, finished in the top five, after being successful in the five rounds of the contest.

Mbaula said Mlilima was self-sponsored and that she travelled with her parents and a teacher, who was sponsored by the school.

Promise Kitara from Uganda came top in the junior category while, in the senior category, Sherriff Muhammed Oluwatobi came first.

The countries that participated in it include Malawi, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Lesotho, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone.

“The winners during the spelling bee in the countries participate at this continental contest. At the moment, the contests are underway and, next time, the Africa Spelling Bee will be held in Ethiopia,” he said.

Mbaula said the spelling contest has been instrumental in propelling, among other things, a reading culture.

He said, in Malawi, the project is implemented in partnership with the Department of Inspectorate and Advisory Services under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

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