SACEE’S 2019 NATIONAL SHORT STORY COMPETITION

For the fourth year running, the SACEE SHORT STORY NATIONAL COMPETITION, organised by the  SACEE Border Branch Committee, had the pleasure of inviting contributions from schools throughout South Africa.

The competition was open to:

                                      PRIMARY SCHOOLS:      Grade 6 and Grade 7 pupils. 

                                      HIGH SCHOOLS:               Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10 and Grade 11 pupils.

 The DEFINITION of a SHORT STORY is an event, (or a series of events), involving a single or small number of characters which develops towards a climax.

Stories could be about ANY TOPIC of choice. 

The LENGTH of the short story must be EXACTLY 100 WORDS – including the title.


ADJUDICATORS’ COMMENTS

STATISTICS –  a record total of 648 entries in the 2019 100-Word Short Story Competition. There were 543 entries from Primary Schools and 105 High School entrants.  A total of 106 (16%) stories received Gold Awards and 163 (25%) received Silver Awards.

TOPICS – As usual, writers were invited to choose their own topics. The variety of topics included personal experiences, physical and mental illness, death, natural disasters, peer pressure, fear, friendship, crimes against humanity, and fables. Writers showed great maturity, imagination and originality in their stories.

DEFINITION –  A short story is defined as a “tale”, an “account” or an “experience” that should contain a narrative element. Notably, a few entries were not, strictly speaking, “stories” but expository paragraphs. This is an area that teachers may be able to address in class prior to submissions.

PLOT  –  Majority of the writers did exceptionally well with writing unique, striking conclusions – many containing unexpected twists. There were many repetitive themes, such as waking up from dreams, retelling of classic stories (‘Three Little Pigs’), and stories beginning with ‘Once upon a time’ and concluding with ‘The end’. However, overall, the writers excelled at absorbing the reader with their creativity.

PRESENTATION – This year, the writers adhered to 2018s comment to avoid using illustrations. They were well presented. For next year’s competition, it would be advisable to submit typed entries rather than handwritten ones as the copy was rather faint and therefore not easy to read, judge and award.

LANGUAGE – The short story provides a stage for writers to exhibit skilled use and understanding of language and vocabulary. The best stories demonstrated excellent use of punctuation, spelling, direct speech, mature diction, and grammar. Conversely, a number of entries showed that writers struggled with tense errors, correct use of apostrophes (particularly possession) and overuse of the ellipses – especially when concluding stories. Teachers in class may be able to address the effective use of ellipses and the power of a succinct resolution.

LENGTH -The SACEE 100-word Short Story Competition has been running for over 20 years (4 Nationally), and one of its most important features is that all entries must be EXACTLY 100 words (including the title). Unfortunately, far too many writers were either unaware of this requirement or ignored it. We had stories just under 100 words, and whole schools which entered stories of over 150 words, thus disqualifying them. We would request teachers to ensure that the writers are aware of this requirement and edit accordingly. 

OVERALL – Despite the minor problems this report has highlighted, it must be stressed that the SACEE 100-WORD SHORT STORY COMPETITION provides an invaluable platform for young creative writers. The quality of the entries is truly remarkable and the learners show great innovation and maturity in their stories. It is easy to tell that each learner put tremendous thought and effort into their pieces and should be commended for honing their storytelling skills.

A special word of thanks is extended to all teachers and schools who encourage their learners to submit entries to any Creative Writing competitions or festivals. You’re encouraging a generation of thinkers and creatives to find their voice, express themselves and develop self-worth.

AWARD WINNERS

PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Auckland Park Prep

  • Gold Grade 7:       Zainab Ballim; Analia Ntombela; Keira Berell;
  • Silver Grade 7:     Francesca Genovese
  • Gold Grade 6:       Milla Morse; Charlotte Miller;
  • Silver Grade 6:    Olivia Thompson; Imogen Preston; Tessa Collins; Robyn van der Walt; Amber Doran

Bridge House Prep

  • Gold Grade 6:      Maya Ethelston

Capella House

  • Gold Grade 7:      Rafferty Clayton
  • Silver Grade 7:    Faith Heald; Oska Fagan-Stuart; Harry Hooper
  • Silver Grade 6:    Joshua Walkenbach; Gabriel Owen

Collegiate Junior

  • Gold Grade 7:       Amy Elliot
  • Gold Grade 6:       Zoe van der Walt; Olivia Rist
  • Silver Grade 6:     Salizwa Tyakume; Jennifer Triskin

De La Salle

  • Gold Grade 6:       Keira Leask; Rhea Rajpal; Julian Nicholls
  • Silver Grade 6:     Sofia French

Drakensburg

  • Silver Grade 6:      Thandolwethu Luthuli

Elliot High School

  • Silver Grade 6:      Kitty Johnstone

George Randell

  • Silver Grade 7:       Tiannah van der Merwe

Gonubie Primary

  • Gold Grade 7:         Licebo Sibhozo
  • Silver Grade 7:       Travis Durant

Gordon Road Girls’

  • Gold Grade 7:         Hannah Joosab; Chloë de Plessis
  • Silver Grade 7:       Virajna Sukhraj; Siyanda Zama; Layla Joosab; Talia Naidoo
  • Gold Grade 6:         Tasleemah Joosab; Suha Kader
  • Silver Grade 6:       Sahana Sabarirajan; Zeya Rajput

H2 Primary

Herzlia Constantia

  • Gold Grade 6:        Rubi Nates; Milan Katz; Jed Wijnberg; Alexander Danziger

Herzlia Highlands Primary

  • Gold Grade 6:       Daniel Kushner; Tom Day-Reader; Zarit Novick; Gabriella Narunsky; Isaac Engel;      Frederic van Duinen
  • Silver Grade 6:     Matteo Cosica; Jolie Resnick; Alexa Solomon; Jojo Blaszkiewicz; Kiran Bloom; Michael       Maher; Avi Rod; Zack Rogoff; David Buys; Leah Rodenacker; Gil Julian; Noah Morris;                                              Milo Letschert; Naphtali Beinart

Hudson Park

  • Gold Grade 7:       Jenna Victor; Neha Naidoo; Kanego Mkhabela; Siyasanga Mahamba; Ryley Eason; Kyne      Barry; Sinyolo Mfaka; Tatum Knox; Allyssa Joseph; Shane Stagg
  • Silver Grade 7:     Kumkani Kabane; Ayena Gwarube; Sophia Burgess; Emily Lutge; Bryce Kenny; Allyssa         Joseph
  • Gold Grade 6:       Nuraida Jenkins;
  • Silver Grade 6:     Zingce Zakhe; Lisoletu Samente; Bronwyn Wilson; Jessica Schaefer; Isabella Stanyon;         Hlangs-Jnr Mafani; Imange Gxwem;

Jan Celliers

  • Gold Grade 7:       Tamar Jordaan

Kidd’s Beach Primary

  • Silver Grade 7:     Ethan McDonald; Chelsea Henning
  • Gold Grade 6:       Cole Borges

Lighthouse Christian College

  • Gold Grade 6:       Molemo Maila; Oteng Molokwane
  • Silver Grade 6:     Bethia Morudu; Palesa Mahiangu; Khanyisile Patlele; Amogelang Molefe

Lilyfontein School

  • Silver Grade 7:     Shelby van Tonder; Kylie Holmes
  • Gold Grade 6:       Logan McLaren
  • Silver Grade 6:     Logan McLaren

Merrifield

  • Silver Grade 6:     Lilitha Madasa
  • Gold Grade 7:       Sahana Phillip
  • Silver Grade 7:     Muhammed Peer;

Oak Hill

  • Gold Grade 7:        Jemima Wilcox-Jones; Tamryn Hewetson; Mia Guccio
  • Silver Grade 7:      Liam Nelson; Mark Sturgess

Parkview Senior

  • Gold Grade 7:        Kaelyn Haffen; Ashleigh King;
  • Silver Grade 7:      Lucas Botes; Anabelle Archer; Gabi Flaum; Nosisa Mnguno; Rebecca Leisegang; Faaria       Tikly

Pinelands North Primary

  • Gold Grade 6:        Darakshaan’ Faki
  • Silver Grade 7:      Nabeela Ebrahim

Riebeek College Girls’

  • Gold Grade 7:        Rebecca Wilkinson;
  • Silver Grade 7:      Poshika Ramsamy; Celine Dinie; Aphelele Jack
  • Silver Grade 6:      Riddhi Mistry; Khanyokayise Thembani

St Andrew’s Prep

  • Gold Grade 6:       Daniel Meihuizen
  • Silver Grade 6:     Joshua Herring; Matthew Ladds; Some Marawu; Jack Cullinan; Aidan Flanagan; Keegan     Coventry
  • Gold Grade 7:       Jack Dixie; Lisolomzi Mgwedli;
  • Silver Grade 7:     Brandon Mosarwe; Benjamin Evans; Raoul Eia; Julius Rocher; Benjamin Shamwana; Anda Galadla; Nicolas Field; Jono Mackenzie; Ethan van der Merve

St Anne’s Primary School

  • Gold Grade 7:        Mtha Mandla; Thandokuhle Pikwa;
  • Silver Grade 7:      Seth Rensburg; Kamvalethu Mnqwanzana
  • Silver Grade 6:      Evuya Myataza; Asekho Zweni

Star College Durban

  • Silver Grade 7:       Thriam Maharaj; Claire Jamali; Kyra P; Ayeesha Khan; Zülal Kandemir; Wardah Kahn
  • Gold Grade 6:         Peroimoney
  • Silver Grade 6:       Wardah Khan

Star College Primary

  • Gold Grade 7:        Rabia Abdullah
  • Silver Grade 7:      Armien Manuel
  • Gold Grade 6:        Saleha Hamied; Bayyinah Manjoo
  • Silver Grade 6:      Emine Inal;

Stirling Primary

  • Gold Grade 7:          Isabella Hensberg; Joseph Connellan; Rachel Krull; Jenna van Staden
  • Silver Grade 7:        Eden Iveson; Annabel Loxton; Amy Eichstadt; Kyra Goldswain; Danika Carstens;                Tashmeera Jose; Kacy Bahlman; Millie Caswell
  • Gold Grade 6:          Keelynne van Heerden

The Mountain Cambridge School

  • Silver Grade 7:       Xelder Nyambo
  • Gold Grade 6:         Jayden White
  • Silver Grade 6:       Jayden White; Maya Laubscher

Unicorn Prep

  • Silver Grade 7:       Simone Spies; Zayd Moosa; Shriya Patel; Imaan Ahmed; Luma Pieters;
  • Gold Grade 6:         Layla Human
  • Silver Grade 6:       Tyrone Kurten; Jayson Muller; Nsovo Mabila

HIGH SCHOOLS

Ashton International College- Benoni

  • Silver Grade 8:       Hunter Hide; Simone De Beer
  • Gold Grade 10:        Matthew Lubbers; Kerryn Hopkinson; Kieran Moodley

Bridge House

  • Gold Grade 11:         Jaimie Lundie

Cambridge High School

  • Silver Grade 10:      Amatullah Fayers; Anele Balfour; Cebisa Cwaba
  • Gold Grade 10:        Lez Putter

Fields College

  • Gold Grade 10:        Jenna Schubach
  • Silver Grade 11:       Brio Kutlwano Mmolawa; Sinenhlanhla Blessing Maphanga

Hexagon High School

  • Gold:                             Hluma Nziweni; Buhlebenkosi Nomnabo
  • Silver:                           Mbali Xuma

Holy Rosary School

  • Gold Grade 10:         Kaitlyn Rabbets
  • Silver Grade 8:         Jorja Howson

Huhudi Secondary School

  • Gold Grade 8:           Mosesane Moabi
  • Silver Grade 11:        Kobamelo Diana; Joyce Moyo

King Edward High School

  • Silver Grade 8:         Jene Niehaus; Luke Kandan; Gabriel Lewis
  • Gold Grade 10:        Helen Dixon; Paballo Thabana; Sinekhaya Fikeni

Saint Michael’s School For Girls

  • Gold Grade 11:         Jordan Milton; Katleho Habi; Zakiyya Dupli
  • Silver Grade 11:       Snow Kaliba; Veronica Elaides
  • Gold Grade 10:        Khosatsana Mabalane; Tia Dasram; Chiedza Chituku
  • Silver Grade 10:      Mase Tlhakudi; Katherine Burt-Robinson; Mpesa Mohale; Amogelang Senyatsi; Fiona       Lee; Karabo Senokoane; Nicole Thikeson; Jasca de Abreu; Ogone Mulutsi
  • Gold Grade 9:          Mthatisi Leloka; Sebabatso Tauoa
  • Silver Grade 9:        Tinya Chuang
  • Gold Grade 8:          Tebogo Thobane; Sydney Ngxokela; Thato Mnguni Masithela
  • Silver Grade 8:        Sydney Ngxokela; Thato Mnguni Masithela

Stirling High School

  • Gold Grade 8:         Emily Sanders
  • Silver Grade 8:       Iva Mtongana; Jade Tupper; Tallis Hurly
  • Gold Grade 10:       Caitlin Bosch
  • Silver Grade 10:     Mari-Juan Machin; Caitlin Bosch

The Mountain Cambridge School

  • Gold Grade 10:       Cayley Smith
  • Silver Grade 10:     Cayley Smith

Wynberg Boys High

  • Gold Grade 10:       Dante Benting
  • Silver Grade 10:     Dante Benting

Wynberg Girls’ High School

  • Gold Grade 10:       Saarah Stanford; Kira Hofmeyr; Emma Press
  • Silver Grade 10:     Danielle van Wyk; Corina Austin; Zoe Koeries
  • Gold Grade 11:        Palesa de la Hunt; Hannah Dunlop
  • Silver Grade 11:      Lauren Rubler; Juliette Lindup


GRADE 6 : SELECTED STORIES


 SLIME

His mouth dances silently as he sprays out meaningless words. It’s not like I’m purposely not listening to anything he’s saying, it’s just this slime is way more interesting. At least it doesn’t tell me how to write. I look up at his gazing eyes. “Yes,” I say, and then turn back down to the stickiness in front of me. Do you think he’ll stop if I just leave? I raise my hand, and curious to what I’ll say he takes me question.

“Mom’s calling. Bye!”

He looks at me as I stroll out – won’t do that again!

Milan Katz : Herzlia Constantia


DEPARTURE

 I stare at my family. No words can express the feeling of dread and excitement at war with each other. Millions of thoughts flood my worried brain. I have come to the realization that this might be the last time I see the country…my country, the country for which I’d lay down my life. The country that has brought me here and put me in this high risk situation. My head filled with thought. Each footstep heavy against the metal. The thought of bloodshed scares me but I know I have to do what’s right for my country.

Isaac Engel : Herzlia Highlands Primary


SILENCE

 The whirr of the engine gets louder as our plane propels down the runway and into the air. I stare out the window, my breath fogging up the glass. Next to me, Daddy is engrossed in his book, while Mum touches up her make up. I stretch back in my chair and sigh contentedly. Across from me, my sister is asleep, head lolling, with drool on her cheeks. Suddenly I hear a spluttering noise and then, silence. “Daddy?” I call, panicking. My dad gets up, concerned. Then we fall. I scream and someone shoves my head between my legs…Silence.

Logan McLaren : Lilyfontein School


SHOTS FIRED

 All are screaming in terror as they run for their lives. He grabs her around the neck, gun pointing to her head. She is blue in the face, tears gushing from her eyes. She pleads with him to let her go. The police officer tried desperately to convince him to lower his weapon. His hands are shaking, his trembling finger about to pull back on the trigger. The girl attempts to free herself, but his grip is too tight. The police officer raises his gun, “BOOM!” The television goes black; out come the candles. Eskom has struck again!

Nuraida Jenkins : Hudson Park Primary School


GRADE 7 : SELECTED STORIES


STRUCK BY FEAR

 I took one, two steps into the room. My stomach filled with dismay. The thought of a mishap could not be ignored. All the confidence I had gained was irretrievably lost. I froze in the middle of the room looking down at my ridiculous shoes, new and as pink as a bright flamingo. Why did I wear them?

“Ready?” the adjudicator queried curiously, raising an eyebrow. I looked at the blue and blonde, intimidating old lady and nodded nervously, clueless of what she would think of my performance. The music started. Instantaneously my fear fled.

Isabella Hensberg : Stirling Primary


ALL THE STARS COMBINED

 Paralyzed by my grief and guilt, it was only when my mother touched my shoulder that I was released from my trance. She took me into her warm embrace and whispered, “She knew you loved her.” I held onto the memories of our time together, when my existence needed no validation from the number of alerts I received from my cell. I spent my days carefree with my beloved pup, Lipsy. I never got to say goodbye. You were my light, and you shone brighter than all the shining stars – brighter than all the stars combined.

Sahana Phillip : Merrifield


SUFFRAGETTE MARCH

 My heart is a pounding mass of fear and exhilaration. Green and purple rainbows swirl in front of my eyes, but everything is dazed. Afraid I might faint…Mama doesn’t even know I left. There are screams of protest, anguish. Above it all, female voices of determination. I join the march ahead of me. Men on horseback assemble, fighting off the suffragettes, Papa amongst them. My pulsating heart stops. His expression is of the same stone my gravestone will be made of if he catches me. Without looking back at him, determined, I join the march for equality.

Mia Guccio : Oakhill School


SILVER DEATH TRAP

 There I am, enclosed in the suffocating, silver box. Crying. Scream for my mother. I see a hand trying to reach me, to pull me out of the death trap. In a panic I start to push every button there is, although it’s useless. What seems days is only an hour until I am finally released into my mother’s arms. I pray to never have that experience again. How I hate that machine. That silver, terrifying, suffocating, death trap. Every time I board that death-box, my heart jumps, willing it to be over.

I hate the elevator.

Zainab Ballim : Auckland Park Preparatory School


GRADE 8 : SELECTED STORIES


THE MAD SCIENTIST FATHER

 No one seems to notice me. Every time I say hello, they all stop and stare and carry on with what they were doing. The only time they ever notice me is when I drink from my bottle of water or write with my pen on a piece of paper. It’s like they’ve seen a ghost. I especially get stares when I open doors. They quickly shut it and say it was a strong wind. My mad scientist dad still hasn’t found a cure yet. It’s hard being a scientist’s daughter when he turns you invisible.

Emily Sanders : Stirling High School


WE’RE ALL GOING SOMEWHERE

 As a twelve year old you never really think about losing a loved one unless you do lose someone. I remember the heart breaking day. Saying goodbye wasn’t easy. I told her not to look into the light, thinking she wouldn’t go, but she was still on her way. It all happened so fast. I had to accept that it was the end. I wiped my tearful eyes trying to keep my composure, thinking it was all fake. After I begged her to say, she shut the door behind her. Unfortunately, she was the old me.

Tebogo Thobane : Saint Michael’s School for Girls


IT WASN’T MY FAULT

She laid there in a pool of blood, but it wasn’t my fault. I was walking down the street when I heard screaming. I ran to see what was happening and head a loud bang. I was too late. The police found me hovering over her body, trying to put pressure on her wound but they’d already assumed what I was trying to do. They needed a confession so I told them the truth, but it wasn’t the answer they were looking for and pulled the trigger on me. Because just how it started, it ended.

Thato Mnguni Masithela : Saint Michael’s School for Girls


GRADE 9 : SELECTED STORIES


ETERNAL SCARS

Those ocean blue eyes pulled me in. There were vulnerable and full of emotion, but what I didn’t see was the storm brewing inside. You looked at me like I was your most prized possession. To be honest, I felt like the most beautiful girl whenever I was with you. Your eyes filled with love and adoration, but now all I see is hate and disgust when I look into your eyes. How could everything turn upside down so fast? My life came crashing down that night. You stole something from me that can’t be given back.

Sebabatso Tauoa : Saint Michael’s School for Girls


GRADE 10 : SELECTED STORIES


SCAPEGOAT

Once they see me, their look of ‘innocence’ turns to fear. They realize that they will be unable to save themselves. I observe these humans closely.

I hate the ones that are too proud to admit their wrongs. They’re shocked when you deny them their freedom. They you get the ones that “take it as a man”. They bore me. At least they’re honest. Knowing their honestly won’t help them; they admit their crimes. Really admirable.

The ‘goodies’ aren’t my department: their happiness makes me sick. Darkness is my home: the one thing people can’t take away from me.

Kaitlyn Rabbets : Holy Rosary School


I WISHED

I wish I had her life, so badly that I bought her dress. I wished I had her hair, so badly that I cut my own. I wished I had her brows, so much so that I tattooed my own. I wished I had her eyes, so badly that I lost one of my own. I wished I had her legs, so badly that I overworked my own. I wished I had her lips and now mine look like an allergy reaction. Oh how I wished. So when she ended hers, I wished to end my life too.

Chiedza Chituku : Saint Michael’s School for Girls


REPRIEVE

Cold mist smothered me as I left the once comforting heat of the lodge. My cheeks burned as I plunged towards the dark haven the pines offered, heedless of the darkness. His words taunting, mocking me from the recesses of my mind. All I wanted was a reprieve; my body begged for it. Picking up speed, my bare feet pounded over the cold, twisted ground to the frantic beating of my heart. Then cool water seeped through my toes and soundlessly, I slipped further into its depths, its waters clearing my misted thoughts, calming the burn, setting me free.

Emma Press : Wynberg Girls’ High School


SHE CAN’T HIDE FOREVER

He sat and stared. At the wall. At the ceiling. At the bars.

Nothing to do. Bored, bored, bored.

BORED.

The clock ticked in the hall. Time had long since lost all meaning. All down the corridor the tick and tock was heard. Ever constant. Never ending.

The cell was bleak. Hard. Emotionless.

He saw a face in his mind. Her face. He licked his lips. Did she still remember him? He hoped so.

“It’s find. Soon enough she will.”

The ominous laughter resounded through Qincheng Prison.

On the other side of Beijing, Mai Chong shivered.

Matthew Lubbers : Ashton International College – Benoni


MY NEW HAIRCUT

Last week a man shaved all of my hair off – mommy called him Doctor. I don’t like the needles Mr Doctor puts in my arm, or that I can’t play outside anymore. But it’s OK because mommy says she’ll cook me any meal I want and that she will love me forever. I want to show everyone my new haircut, but mommy says I should stay in bed. Yesterday a nice lady said that she would give me anything I wanted. I asked to play outside. I caught mommy crying last night, but she didn’t say why.

Dante Benting : Wynberg Boys High School


GRADE 11 : SELECTED STORIES


MOM

I try to call out to her as she stares listlessly out the window. She is once again trapped in the labyrinth of her memories. Post traumatic stress, the doctors called it, but I knew better. After years of being ignored in favour of my sister, I understood that she desperately wanted it to be med. I should have perished in the horrific fire.

“Love me!” I cry out to her as angry tears stain my cheeks. She hears nothing and she sees nothing. I realize at last that whatever love she had died along with my sister.

Sinekhaya Fikeni : King Edward High School


CHECKMATE

He scurries past the fallen knights strewn across the floor, narrowly missing the jagged pieces of the queen’s shattered crown. His mind racing and struggling to come up with tactical solutions, only to be foiled by the enemy’s soldiers. As the battle rages on, his pawns begin to succumb to defeat, leaving him defenceless. At last, he sees a chance in the godforsaken field. Valiantly, he charges. Two moves away from safety, he pauses and rejoices at his triumph, too joyful to notice the trap. A solitary knight with a scathing grin, and the word “checkmate” on his lips.

Palesa de la Hunt : Wynberg Girls’ High School


YESTERDAY 

I mourn yesterday. So many unanswered “What ifs” lie within its shallow grave ignored and forgotten by almost anyone who isn’t me. I miss its familiar greetings and gentle conversation. Even its angry thoughts and bitter insults that ache like bruises on my skin are sweet in comparison to the unknown threats and promises that tomorrow holds. I want to honour its victories and defeats with the respect that it deserves, properly and slowly with quiet ceremony. But I can’t. I must be quick. I can’t tell tomorrow to wait. There simply isn’t enough time. I only have today.

Jaimie Lundie : Bridge House