SACEE’S 2020 NATIONAL SHORT STORY COMPETITION

For the fifth 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 – We had a total of 460 entries in the 2020 100-Word Short Story Competition. There were 326 entries from Primary Schools and 134 High School entrants.  A total of 14% revealed Gold and 23% received Silver Awards in the Primary Schools section. In the High Schools’ section, 20% received Gold and 21% received Silver Awards.

TOPICS – As usual, writers were invited to choose their own topics. There was an exciting variety in choices. However, many (especially in the Primary Schools’ section) were rather far-fetched and seemed to reflect the movies being watched. Lots of bloodshed, zombies and monsters appeared in numerous forests! It was, however, refreshing to note many very sincere and thoughtful stories too. Many centred on emotions and various sentiments.

DEFINITION – A short story should focus on one or a few characters, create an atmosphere and – most importantly – reach a climax or have a twist in the tale. Several stories were more anecdotes or commentaries.  Notably, a few entries were not, strictly speaking, “stories” but expository paragraphs. This is an area which teachers may be able to address in class prior to submissions. There is an excellent short story titled, “Death by Scrabble”, written by Charlie Fish. It is strongly recommended that teachers read and discuss this story with their learners – it has all the elements of a very clever short story.

PLOT – These varied – some were a little too predictable, but many were very interesting and  unusual. It is a good idea for learners to select a theme and perhaps plan the ending before the begin writing. Learners who “write from the dead” might do better writing in the third person. It is vital that the ending is clever, striking, or unexpected!

PRESENTATION –  The vast majority submitted typed entries, which made marking a pleasure.  Handwritten ones need to be written clearly and boldly as the copy of the few submitted was rather faint and therefore not easy to read.

LANGUAGE – The short story provides a stage for writers to exhibit skilled use and understanding of language and vocabulary. There was a problem with muddled tense usage in many stories – good editing is vital. The over-usage of present participles instead of finite verbs was also a problem. Learners are reminded that contractions should count as two words and that hyphenated words count as one.

LENGTH – The SACEE 100-word Short Story Competition has been running for over 20 years, and one of its most important features is that all entries must be EXACTLY 100 words (including the title). This was adhered to very well with only three or four stories going over the word count.

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 enjoyment which the learners get from this exercise is apparent in their choice of topics and vocabulary. It is an excellent way to teach them how to be succinct yet creative.

SPONSORSHIP – We would like to be able to award prizes to the top entries in each grade, as a reward for truly outstanding work. (See the stories below this report for examples.)

If any teachers or parents out there know of a sponsor who would be prepared to donate R10 000. 00 (± R1 500 per grade) a year to this Competition, please supply us with details and we will contact them.

(Remember that SACEE is a registered NPO and donations to it qualify for tax exemption.)

Congratulations, and we look forward to your school’s entries next year.

For a breakdown of the statistics of the competition please click on the relevant link below:


2020 AWARD WINNERS


PRIMARY SCHOOLS


Cannons Creek

  • Gold Grade 7: Michael Sparks, Scott Wilkins. Ethan Goldschmidt, Malini Mistry, Isabella Baker
  • Silver Grade 7: Michael Morgan, Talya Davids

Collegiate Junior

  • Gold Grade 7: Mieke Wessels

De La Salle

  • Gold Grade 6: Olivia Chambers
  • Silver Grade 6: Cassidy Carson, Lisa hawthorn, Christopher Jacobs

Gordon Road Girls’

  • Gold Grade 7: Taslemah Joosab
  • Silver Grade 7: Piara Sawers, Siphowo Ngcobo, Maseeha Hassim
  • Silver Grade 6: Serena Singh

Herzlia Highlands Primary

  • Gold Grade 6: Gabriel Cohn, Maxine Zacks, Cheyenne Zaff, Josie Bass, Jessica Carol, Chelsea Zive
  • Silver Grade 6: Matt Berger, Levi Gluckman,Kristin Koch, Kaine Lipshitz-Rosenstein, Kaylee Maltz, Samantha Wolffe, Lily Zetler, Hannah Atie, Amber Lazarus, Amy Distiller, Erin Jankelowitz, Jasper Stevenson, Joseph Lee, Hannah Bendel, Mimi Pickering,

Montrose Primary

  • Gold Grade 7: Reitumetse Molapo, Diyamikah Govender
  • Silver Grade 7: Mushaisano Tshitahe
  • Gold Grade 6: Sohana Haji
  • Silver Grade 6: Isabella Manavalan

Oakhill

  • Gold Grade 7: Victoria Still
  • Silver Grade 7: Georgia Heynderickx, Cassidy Winter
  • Silver Grade 6: Nash Lederle

Parkview Senior

  • Gold Grade 7: Zahra Mollagee, Izabella Klein
  • Silver Grade 7: Amani Docrat, Zahra Mollagee, Suhaila Moosa, Asmina Mayet, Aisha
  • Aboobaker x2, Tegan Dlamini

St Andrew’s Prep

  • Silver Grade 6: callum Spring, banathi Mpondo, Thomas Bussiahn, Dan Short
  • Silver Grade 7: Someleze Marawu, John Davies

St Cyprian’s Prep

  • Gold Grade 7: Nina Cullis, Stephanie Taylor, Peta Moore, Eve Richards
  • Silver Grade 7: Anna Gordon-Davies, lola Marinovich, Eve Lascaris, Olivia Suttcliffe

St Michael’s School for Girls

  • Silver Grade 7: Jeanine Sirsawy, Rea Tsomela
  • Gold Grade 6: Taskeen Khan, Jasmine Ali
  • Silver Grade 6: Ria Nene, Tlotliso Rammile, Tato Phokela

Star College Primary, Cape Town

  • Silver Grade 7: Bayyinah Manjoo
  • Silver Grade 6: Salma Parak x2, bahar Busra Yurtdas

Star College Primary, Pretoria

  • Silver Grade 7: Aurelia Zounmenou

Stirling Primary

  • Gold Grade 7: Amber Ferreira, Cassidy Crossley x2, Danel Muller, Hannah Francis, Johan C van der Linde, Linamandla Ndamase, marissa Rademan, Suzanne Strass, Wayne Simpson, Jordan Place
  • Silver Grade 7: Amity Tressider, Blaine Gregory, Bryce Clarke, Corbin Wright, Danel Muller, darryian Scott, Holly de Bruyn, Jamio Lodewyk, Kesha Louw x2, Seth Goodwin, Suzanne Strauss, Tenique Pillay, Tyla Knox, Jared Vasi, Ciara Hart
  • Gold Grade 6: Janey-Heather Wood
  • Silver Grade 6: Aneska van Zyl, Grace Loxton

Wembley College

  • Gold Grade 7: Diankha Naidoo, Jody Dreyer
  • Silver Grade 7: Jody Dreyer
  • Gold Grade 6: Lily Brown,
  • Silver Grade 6: Scarlet Alexander

Werda School

  • Gold Grade 6: Amore Laubscher
  • Silver Grade 6: Lizelle Pretorius

Willem Prinsloo

  • Silver Grade 7: Denise Cilliers

HIGH  SCHOOLS


Ashton International College- Benoni

  • Gold Grade 8: Jenna Goebel
  • Silver Grade 9: Tiya Patel
  • Gold Grade 10: Sanam Singh, Jordyn Kirkham

Brescia House

  • Silver Grade 11: Ihlombe Mbikwana

Bridge House

  • Silver Grade 11: Luke de Villiers

Cambridge High School

  • Gold Grade 11: Zintle Bota,Lunathi Mvenya
  • Silver Grade 11: Anele Balfour, Leza-Mari Putter

Cannons Creek Independent

  • Gold Grade 9: Salma Abader

Clarendon High School for Girls

  • Gold Grade 11: Jenna Minnaar, Lesego Nyathela
  • Silver Grade 11: Emily Evans, Masooda Obaray

Emmanuel Private School

  • Silver Grade 11: Lesego Khaole

Fields College

  • Silver Grade 8: Remoratile Nke
  • Silver Grade 9: Melanie Meuwsen

Hatfield Christian School

  • Silver Grade 11: Rochelle Wubbeling

Hudson Park High

  • Silver Grade 10: Amy Bruton

Kearsney College

  • Silver Grade 11: Talumba Masamba

Lilyfontein

  • Silver Grade 11: Holly Mellin

Maseala Progressive

  • Silver Grade 11: Rabodiba Keabetswe

Saint Michael’s School for Girls

  • Gold Grade 11: Katherine Burt-Robinson, Celeste-Marie Engestrom x2, Boitumelo Mokeyane, Jasca de Abreu, Innez Ruiters,
  • Silver Grade 11: Kgosatsana Mabalane, Chiedza Chituku
  • Gold Grade 10: Mpopi Malapo, Ola Ntlakana,
  • Silver Grade 10: Tinya Chuang, Zintle Lobe
  • Gold Grade 9: Fumane masheane, Sydney Ngxokela
  • Silver Grade 9: Merveille Tcheumaga, Khotaso Ramaema
  • Gold Grade 8: Reitumetse Motsoari
  • Silver Grade 8: Thando Sindane, Michan Marshoff, Refiloe Senti

Stirling High School

  • Silver Grade 8: Kyra Goldswain
  • Silver Grade 10: Megan Coetzer
  • Gold Grade 10: Caitlin Bosch
  • Silver Grade 10: Mari-Juan Machin; Caitlin Bosch

Wynberg Girls’ High School

  • Gold Grade 11: Eryn van Rooyen, Jenna Ryklief, Ashleigh Mingo, Alexandra Figaji, Emma Press, Courteney Steenveld
  • Silver Grade 11: Tyla Lottering, Taylor Yardin, Farah Manie, Atheerah Isaacs.

 


GRADE  6  :  SELECTED  STORIES


LIES

I open my eyes to a book on the floor. The Book of Lies, it says in the cover. I walk to the book and open it. The Book of Lies whispers into my ear and a creepy feeling goes down my spine as I turn to Page 1. The Book of Lies tells stories about me, about my friends; about my dreams. It tells me about my feelings. Suddenly, I feel someone’s eyes on me. My friend says, “None of those lies are true.” When I look down, I notice that the book is written in her handwriting.

Taskeen Khan, St Michael’s School for Girls

UNTITLED

I bought a television from the gentleman down the road. I switched the television on and found it unusual that there was a single untitled programme. However, I settled down and watched. I dozed off and as I awoke shortly after, I looked around awestruck by my environs. I realised that I was in the same setting as the programme I watched earlier. What was going on? I darted to the door, frantically trying to open it. It wouldn’y budge! I glanced at the television and saw the woman from the show waving at me from my living room!

Mieke Wessels, Collegiate Junior School for Girls

HEARTBREAK

Consider yourself a task I have ended. Our relationship, a signal not found – our connection now disconnected. You, a broken link I wish I had been forbidden to visit, a threat I did not initially detect. You became a virus in my system, and I had to escort you out of it. I have now completed the uninstallation process, have reset my life’s device back to before we met when I mistakenly trusted your download of lies. So good luck spamming your way into someone else’s unregistered trust. I have already reported your corrupted files – I hope you are Happy!

Reitumetse Motsoari, St Michael’s School for Girls


GRADE  7  :  SELECTED  STORIES


REALITY’S CLEAN

As she struggles to loosen the bolt of the sharpener, an agonising scream escapes her. Tears start pouring from her eyes. They sting like acid, leaving a red tint all over her face. The bolt flies off and she picks up the blade with no thought. Three days. Three unbearable days clean. It’s pretty clear to her that she’s nothing more than the scars she wears. She places the blade on top of her wrist and slashes along the vein. She smiles as the blood drips onto the floor. She finds peace in the pain…happiness in the horror!

Zahra Mollagee, Parkview Senior

ATM

It was raining heavily in London square. Unhappy-looking people strode past me, holding umbrellas, splashing through the puddles on the pavement. I had been sent by my mum to draw money out of the ATM, which was standing next to a sign post. As I inserted the card and typed in the pin, something strange started to happen. The machine suddenly started to open up and there before me was a portal of sorts. Without hesitation, I stepped inside. There was a bright flash and I found myself in a different place. I had teleported: ATM – A Time machine!

Michael Sparks, Cannons Creek High School

LEFT IN THE DARK

We grounded the boat smoothly on the sandy shore. Swiftly, we looked around in search of the final quest. Bac to bavk, we scanned the terrain, took aim, and shot. It hit right in the heart. I was left with one more assignment – to eliminate the assassin. He revealed himself as he hurried towards safer shelter. I climbed a tree to improve my view. I spotted him. My sights were on him. He moved closer. I … Suddenly, everything was dark. The screen turned dark. Load shedding!

Wayne Simpson, Stirling primary

RETURN

Yellow is the colour of a loved one returning. The longer the years that pass, the brighter the colour grows inside me. A son who is no longer here, because he is serving his country abroad may finally return home. It is time to clean his room and make his favourite meal, in anticipation of his return. I sit outside, patiently waiting for his drop off car at exactly two o” clock. At one minute past two, I take out the notification of my son’s brave death. Today is the sixth anniversary since he failed to return from the dreadful war.

Jordan Place, Stirling Primary


GRADE  10  :  SELECTED  STORY


CLOWN

Cheeks and lipos stained red. Face a blinding shade of white; a red ball has taken the place of his nose. He is no longer recognisable. He steps onto the stage and the noise is deafening. The people laugh and cheer. Were they really happy? When they leave the arena, the woman who sat in the front row will go home to weep over the job she lost. The nine-year-old will reminisce about the time his parents still love each-other. And him? He will continue to abuse substances to escape the laughing stock which has become his life.

Sanam Singh, Ashton International College


 GRADE 11  :  SELECTED  STORIES


WEEDS

Mable remembered something as she rolled her sleeves up. If your garden died, you were watering the weeds. She heaved the compost bag. Dereck would’ve mocked her. Mable grunted as she worked and reflected on her morning. Dereck was especially aggressive that day. He ranted about something and shoved her a bit too hard. She stumbled and her favourite pot plant shattered. Dereck tried to apologise, but the chunk of clay in his neck stopped him. Mable patted the wound as Dereck’s lifeless eyes stared up from his hole in the garden. Mable smiled; no more watering the weeds.

Eryn van Rooyen, Wynberg Girls’ High School

THE LETTER

I remember the day before everything changed. It was a Sunday in 1914. There would be no post, so our fears could be put on hold. The house itself felt like it was holding its breath. Trepidation mixed with dread settled into the cracks in the walls. My father, a pianist, played all afternoon, as he often did when something worried him. He played until his trembling hands ached with exhaustion. The next morning the letter arrived, and my father was sent away. My young mind wondered what they could possibly need a pianist for in the trenches…

restricts my breathing. Reality strikes a pose and the memory of the day we parted torments my mind. I hold you tightly against my chest and wipe away my tears. Even though I wish it were really you, a picture frame will have to do.

Jenna Minnaar, Clarendon High school for Girls

DINNER DATE

Elias Fitzgerald. At first glance, you’d assume he was a peculiar man, but I knew that he had good intentions. So I agreed to the dinner date. I arrived at 6PM. He led me to a hot tub, insisting I get in. I asked if he was joining me; he immediately declined. He added different oils – it was relaxing. But only for a second. My skin started burning and my vision blurred. I was in a haze. It wasn’t until he added the vegetables that I realised that this wasn’t a date, but I was the dinner!

Courteney Steenveld, Wynberg Girls’ High School

SILENCE

She spoke to me, but no words were said. No sounds were made and there was no motion. Still in the silences, we were. Yet, a conversation was built on a concrete foundation of patience, understanding, connection and a foreign language – silence. Silence ruled the atmosphere as we grew lost in each other’s yearning eyes; lost in emotions, but numb to all feelings. Lost in an inescapable silence, we continued to stare at each other. As I turn my head and point to my ear, she too turns, pushing her red coiled hair and smiles. Her deafness is blaring!

Lunathi Mvenya, Cambridge High school

LOCKDOWN

“Corona! Corona!” The soft changes faded as I transitioned from a dreamy stupor to just slightly awake. When told that the country was  going into Lockdown, deafening cheers of joy, which probably had reached Wuhan itself, engulfed the hostel, Now on day “who-the-hell-knows?”, I swear I’d rather be at school. It wasn’t the zoom classes, masks, sanitizers – nor the pile of homework. It was the massive pound of fat flesh reeking of stale alcohol lying beside me inbed. No alcohol ban could stop this man, and no social work could work hard enough to get me out.

Mpopi Molapo, St Michael’s School for Girls