English Olympiad

A SACEE project in association with the Grahamstown Foundation and sponsored by the DE BEERS CHAIRMAN’S FUND.

A background to the English Olympiad:

The English Olympiad first started as a small project in 1976 when Dr Malcolm Venter, a member of the Eastern Cape branch committee of SACEE (and now the Council’s National Chairperson) was asked to organise such an event locally. The first competition attracted 119 entries and the winner received a prize of R50.

The following year the Grahamstown Foundation agreed to take over the general administration of the SACEE English Olympiad and the competition was extended to cover the whole of the old Cape Province. The number of entries rose to 332 that year. In 1978, the Olympiad was further extended to include all parts of South Africa and the number of entries continued to rise substantially from then on. The 1982 Olympiad for example attracted 2,760 entries from 256 schools, a 45% increase from the previous year.

In 1985 De Beers came on board as the main sponsor of the SACEE English Olympiad. In 1995 SACEE decided to discard the existing ‘set text’ system and introduce a new ‘open book’ format. This allowed for a more theme-orientated approach. For the first time examiners were able to ask questions which were open-ended and which required p ersonal responses. This change proved to be extremely popular with a total of 4,115 entries being received that year. Two years later, 300 schools submitted a total of 4,676 entries between them and the competition has continued to grow every year since then.

SACEE is extremely proud of its English Olympiad project and grateful thanks go to the main sponsors, the De Beers Chairman’s Fund and to Rhodes University for its scholarship prizes to the top fifty winners. Further thanks go to the sponsors of cash prizes for the top twenty; which include the English Academy of Southern Africa, Maskew Miller, Longman Publishers and Monash SA. In addition, SACEE is most grateful to the Grahamstown Foundation for all the organisational work undertaken by them. The Eastern Cape branch of SACEE has remained entirely responsible for the academic side of the competition since its inception in 1976. Initially the academic input was provided by Dr Malcolm Venter but since his retirement from teaching, this has been taken over by Dr Diana Ayliff a member of the SACEE Eastern Cape branch who is ably assisted by an army of markers and administrative staff.

What is the ‘English Olympiad’?

The English Olympiad is an annual nationwide examination open to pupils in Grades 10, 11 and 12. Its aim is to enrich and deepen the candidates’ appreciation for the English language and its literature.

Read more:

  • Candidates are required to read and study a text that is compiled each year. This text is usually based on a theme such as “war”, “Shakespeare’s love poetry” or “School writing” and comes in the form of an anthology that might consist of just one genre such as drama or poetry, or a mixture of genres.
  • Although there is a rank order of the top one hundred candidates and huge prizes and bursaries for some of them, the Olympiad is more about participation and enrichment of all. What is looked for in the Olympiad is a critical, intelligent, individual response to the given works. It is not an examination where candidates can regurgitate notes or facts.
  • The prizes for the top candidates include cash prizes, books, book vouchers and scholarships. The top fifty winners are awarded scholarships by Rhodes University that largely cover their academic fees for their first year of study at the University. The top 15 enjoy a fully paid trip to the Schools’ Festival and the top three win cash prizes. The De Beers Chairman’s Fund is by far the largest sponsor of this Olympiad.
  • The closing date for entries is from mid September to early November each year and the examination is written in early March the following year.

For further details and how to enter, please contact:

The Olympiad Officer, Grahamstown Foundation – P O Box 304, Grahamstown, 6140

Tel:  046 6031145 or 046 603 1107

Fax:  046 622 7462 or 086 262 6048

E-mail:  olympiad@foundation.org.za


2019 Call for Entries

Calling all English Olympiad enthusiasts!  We are gearing up for the 2019 English Olympiad.  Our new theme for 2019 is “Hidden Truths” and the anthology is entitled A Twist in the Tale.  Candidates will enjoy a collection of short stories, each with their own twist unfolded at the end of the story. Explore the hidden truths!

Please click on the links below to download the Call for Entries and Entry Form for 2019:

Call for Entries – for information about the Olympiad, how to enter and prizes up for grabs.

Entry Form – please complete this form to enter, and fax/email it to the Olympiad Officer before the closing date.

The closing date for entries is 31 October 2018. Entries cost R125 per entry/candidate.

Should you require any further information please email the Olympiad Officer – olympiad@foundation.org.za


 2018 English Olympiad-Exam

The Grahamstown Foundation and the South African Council for English Education (SACEE) have announced the rank order of the top 100 English Olympiad winners at an official prize giving ceremony held in Grahamstown on 10 July 2018. The English Olympiad is an annual English competition that drew more than 6411 Home Language and First Additional Language (FAL) entries this year from  high schools throughout South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Mozambique. This prestigious competition has been running since 1976 and is organised jointly by the Grahamstown Foundation and the South African Council for English Education (SACEE). It has been sponsored by De Beers since 1985.

‘To be placed in the top 50 is no mean achievement,’ said Dr Malcolm Venter, National Chairperson of the South African Council for English Education, which is responsible for the English Olympiad together with the Grahamstown Foundation.  ‘The Olympiad demands a considerable amount of preparation on the part of the candidates, and they have to face a three-hour examination which requires answers that show original thinking and ability to express themselves in a creative style, while at the same time substantiating their views from the prescribed text.’  Each year the Olympiad is centred around a theme based on a literary anthology.  The theme for the 2018 Olympiad was ‘The poetry of war and peace’, and was based on an anthology entitled We will remember them.

 2018 English Olympiad Winners!

Front row: David Weber, Westville Boys’ High School; Camilla James, Kingswood College (3rd place); Dr Malcolm Venter; SACEE National Chair; Keara Martino, St Mary’s School Waverley (1st place); Theodore Pauw, Jan van Riebeeck High School (5th place).

Middle row: Georgina Stanley, St Stithians Girls’ College Randburg; Holly Munks, Durban Girls’ College; Olwethu Sigwela, St Martin’s School; Jenna Murison, Ashton Ballito College; Cenelle Gounden, Durban Girls’ College; Shannon Morrison, Cornwall Hill College.

Back row: Rebecca Behne, Rustenburg High School for Girls; Astrid Burgess, Hoërskool Waterkloof; Emma Rogers, St Mary’s School Waverley.

2018 English Olympiad (HL) TOP 20 in RANK ORDER!

Rank

Title

First name

Last name

School

1

Ms

Keara

Martino

St Mary’s School, Waverley

2

Mr

Joshua

Jankelow

Crawford College Sandton

3

Ms

Camilla

James

Kingswood College

4

Ms

Ashley

Eichstadt

Stirling High

5

Mr

Theodore

Pauw

Jan van Riebeeck High School

6

Mr

David

Weber

Westville Boys’ High School

7

Ms

Louise

Goethals

Jan van Riebeeck High School

8

Ms

Holly

Munks

Durban Girls’ College

9

Ms

Jenna

Murison

Ashton Ballito College

10

Ms

Cenelle

Gounden

Durban Girls’ College

11

Mr

Olwethu

Sigwela

St Martin’s School

12

Ms

Shannon

Morrison

Cornwall Hill College

13

Ms

Emma

Rogers

St Mary’s School, Waverley

14

Ms

Georgina

Stanley

St Stithians Girls’ College, Randburg

15

Ms

Rebecca

Behne

Rustenburg High School for Girls

16

Ms

Jasmina

Singh

Durban Girls’ High School

17

Ms

Rachel

Strachen

Kingswood College

18

Ms

Muskaan

Singh

Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School

19

Mr

Francois

Kemp

Camps Bay High School

20

Mr

Gabbriel

Bakker

Curro Nelspruit

2018 First Additional Language (FAL) Top 20 in RANK ORDER!

Rank

Title

First Name

Surname

School

1

Ms

Liesl

Hartley

Hoërskool Nelspruit

2

Mr

Tian

Louw

Paul Roos Gymnasium

3

Ms

Astrid

Burgess

Hoërskool Waterkloof

4

Ms

Vuyolwethu

Memani

Zenex – Sakha Ikamva Project

5

Ms

Aretha

le Roux

Worcester Gymnasium

6

Ms

Ané

van der Walt

Die Hoërskool Menlopark

7

Ms

Sonet

Vermaak

Hoërskool Nelspruit

8

Ms

Cherith

Millward

Brackenfell High School

9

Ms

Monique

Diergaardt

Maths and Science Leadership Academy

10

Mr

Armand

van Rhyn

Drostdy THS

11

Ms

Bianca

Nel

Oudtshoorn High School

12

Mr

Hanno

Strauss

Hoërskool Sentraal

13

Mr

Thamsanqa

Makeleni

Woolhope Secondary School

14

Ms

Makhosazana

Mashaba

Leap Science and Maths School, Benmore

15

Ms

Tshepiso

Mudau

Millennium Combined School

16

Ms

Sesethu

Kasper

Zenex – Sakha Ikamva Project

17

Ms

Mamotumi

Notši

Machabeng College Lesotho

18

Ms

Mbali

Phiri

Leap Science and Maths School, Benmore

19

Ms

Zelina

Dennis

Machabeng College Lesotho

20

Ms

Anika

van Zyl

Hoërskool Nelspruit

For a complete list of the Top 100 in rank order please click here. For more information can be found on the following website: www.SAenglisholympiad.org.za

The call for entries for the 2019 Olympiad will be issued to schools at the beginning of August 2018.