SACEE Is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of the English Language. Founded in 1955, SACEE aims to maintain, promote and encourage education through the medium of English and to improve the standards of written and spoken English in South Africa.

Today, SACEE has eight active branches around the country – Bloemfontein, Border, Eastern Cape, Johannesburg,  Mid-Vaal, Polokwane, Pretoria and Western Cape. These branches are run by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. It is hoped that branches of SACEE may eventually be established in Kwa-Zulu Natal,  and Mpumalanga.  The individual branches organise many competitions, events and 'outreach' programmes within their own particular areas and these include such activities as creative writing competitions, spelling competitions, forum discussions. debating and the provision of readers in a number of Primary Schools.

Please note that SACEE unfortunately does not run a National Creative Writing Competition.   Some of the individual branches do however organise their own local Writing Competitions.  Pretoria's Creative Writing Competition is open to both Primary and High School pupils whose school is a member of their local branch of SACEE,   Johannesburg's Creative Writing Competition is open to High School pupils and the Mid-Vaal branch runs a Primary Schools' Creative Writing Competition. Our Border branch offers a Short Story Competition to local learners.    This arrangement also applies to debating activities which presently take place only in  the Johannesburg,  Bloemfontein and in our newest branch,   Polokwane.    If you wish to have more details of any of these various competitions, please go to the relevant 'Branch' page of this website - see list on left.

In addition to the various programmes and projects organised by the branches in their own local areas, SACEE incorporates four National projects:

  • The publication of English Alive, an annual anthology of writings from high schools and colleges in South Africa. This project has been in operation since 1967 and has seen a number of its entrants go on to become established writers. The copies of the publication are also very useful tools for teaching.
  • The De Beers English Olympiad, an annual literary competition for learners in high schools and colleges. This project, which is a joint project between SACEE and the Grahamstown Foundation, has been in existence since 1976 and offers very attractive prizes, including substantial cash prizes for the top three winners, a year’s free tuition at Rhodes University, books and book tokens.
  • The Language Challenge and Puzzle Parades which, as the name suggests, consists of a competition focused on language puzzles and tests. This competition is open to all Grades of learners.
  • World Schools Debating Leagues: Johannesburg,  Bloemfontein and Polokwane branches participate in these debating competitions.

In addition to the Branch and National activities described above,  SACEE is able to offer a first class editing and proof-reading service to individuals and businesses within South Africa.   SACEE retains  a panel of highly qualified and experienced individuals who are able to offer such services at a reasonable cost.  Please contact SACEE National Office for further details.

Contact details-  National Office:  Office Hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8.30am to 12.30pm

Admin/National Secretary

Postal Address: P O Box 12971, Queenswood, 0121

Tel: 0824488372

Fax: 0865036140

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Important News

Say again? The other side of South African English

Malcolm Venter & Jean Branford

Published by Pharos

Besides recognisable characteristics of South African English, such as ‘Vrystaat’, ‘ou boet’ / ‘ou swaer’, ‘eksê’ or ‘nogal’, speakers of South African English give clear indications – even if their accent is not marked – of their being South African. Many of our South African English structures have unexpected meanings or usages which are not found in General English. South Africans are also, like their counterparts elsewhere, linguistically creative, and have coined many new English words and phrases. You may readily recognise some of these items, but there will be others which you will be surprised to learn are unique to South Africa. It is this, as much as our accent and the borrowings, which makes South African English quite as distinctive as any other World English.

Would you, for instance, recognise South African English if you came across debates about labour brokers or transformation; or if you heard of someone who was making eggs, ordering monkey gland sauce, having a cadenza, busy dying or taking their pavement special to the vet? Would you identify a fellow South African if you were told that she still told you about something, or that someone is a real Model C, or that the teachers are threatening a chalkdown? And what about the children playing doctor-doctor – are they South African?

Maybe you have been surprised when you came across an overseas visitor who was waiting impatiently because someone had promised to meet her just nowbut had not yet arrived ten minutes later. Maybe you confused the visitor further by replying, ‘No, I’m fine’ when she inquired after your health.

And what about the person who says she is having a boyfriend in Jo’burg, or threw the cat with a stone, or forgot her jersey at the restaurant or enjoys hot-hot chips? Or perhaps he tells someone that a situation is very, very dire and that he therefore needs an advice? These may sound strange – or even incorrect – to some, but it is still English, just a different type of English: South African English.

All of these are examples of the unique English elements of the English that has been made in South Africa. And this book aims to regale you with many examples of South African English. An understanding of these items can be useful and enlightening to South Africans themselves in our linguistically rainbowed nation, as well as to strangers in our midst, who may well wonder what on earth we are talking about.

Written in an accessible style, each chapter features words and phrases from different aspects of life – some serious and some not so serious – with actual examples of usage from written and spoken sources. All this is interspersed with pictures and illustrations that liven up the text.

‘I found the text well informed, informative, astute and wonderfully entertaining – surely a good recipe for a “popular” publication! It may have an additional appeal as a reference work as well as being a discerning and shrewd reflection on current SAE usage. It has an appealingly brisk pace as well as being visually attractive. The inclusion of “real” newspaper cuttings, reports, advertisements, op-eds, Wikipedia entries etc. makes for a very grounded discussion – often usefully suggesting the sheer variety of possible usages of a term.’ – Reviewer

The book is available at local booksellers or can be purchased online at: , or  and of course  or
Malcolm Venter holds a PhD in Linguistics from Rhodes University. His dissertation focused on the semantic and morphological aspects of terminological incompetence in SA high schools. He was an English teacher and high school principal from 1971 to 2007, and a part-time lecturer at the US in 2010. He is the co-author of a number of English language textbooks and compiler and co-compiler of several school literary anthologies. He is the founding editor of Teaching English Today, an online magazine for English teachers and former editor of Naptosa Insight, a print publication of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa. He is the founder of the National English Olympiad, of which he was the National Coordinator for 25 years. He is currently the National Chair of the SA Council for English Education and a member of the National Executive of the English Academy of Southern Africa. In 2002, he was the recipient of the Gold Medal Award - the highest award of the English Academy - for his distinguished services to English in South Africa. He has a particular interest in South African English, and has addressed numerous audiences on this over the years.

Malcolm lives in the Western Cape with his wife Morag.
Jean Branford holds a PhD in dialect lexicography (with particular reference to South African English) from Rhodes University. She was a lecturer in Phonetics at her alma mater from 1964 to 1988. During this time, she joined the South African English Dictionary Unit for South African English at Rhodes as a researcher and compiler. Here she compiled A Dictionary of South African English and was also the Associate Editor of A Dictionary of South African English on Historical Principles. This Editorial Committee was the recipient of the English Academy's Gold Medal Award, its highest reward, in 1997. She is the author of numerous papers, some poetry, and verse translations in both English and Afrikaans.

Jean lives in the Western Cape. She has two children and five grandchildren.

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