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.
- 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
English Olympiad 2020 – Call for Entries
The 2020 English Olympiad is open to all English enthusiasts! We are now accepting entries for the 2020 English Olympiad. Please see the attached Call for Entries for more information, and complete the Entry Form to enter. This information is also available on the English Olympiad website for download: www.saenglisholympiad.org.za.
The theme for 2020 is “Consequences” and the title of the anthology is Aftermath. The anthology is a collection of short stories, poems and plays.
UPDATE FOR 2020: We are now accepting Grade 9 learners! The English Olympiad is open to all learners (HL and FAL English) who will be in Grades 9 – 12 in 2020, that is, those learners who are currently in Grades 8 – 11.
Entry fee: R125 per entry
Closing date: 11 October 2019
To enter, please complete the attached entry form and email or fax it to the Olympiad Officer along with proof of payment. Remember to include the postage fee of R100 in your final total.
We look forward to receiving your entries!
For more information contact the Olympiad Officer:
Ms Prarochna Rama
Tel: 046 603 1145
Fax: 086 262 6048
2019 – English Olympiad Results
This year the English Olympiad drew 5712 candidates from 334 national and international schools. These included schools from throughout South Africa in addition to schools in Lesotho, and Botswana. This prestigious competition has run since 1976 and is organized jointly by the Grahamstown Foundation and SACEE. It has been generously sponsored by De Beers since 1985.
On the 5th of March this year, entrants from Grade 10 to 12 wrote the three-hour examination. Of the 5712 entrants, 4241 wrote the Home Language paper, and 582 wrote the First Additional Language paper.
The theme of the anthology studied for the examination this year was “Hidden Truths”. The anthology, compiled by SACEE and entitled, A Twist in the Tale, consisted of a collection of short stories that had surprise endings. Both HL and FAL candidates studied from the same anthology and study guide provided. FAL candidates were not required to study all short stories and wrote a slightly different paper that the HL candidates. There was also a section on language in the examination that involved punctuation and how it changes meaning.
The English Olympiad also focuses on assisting and enriching learners from communities where De Beers operates through the Olympiad English Development Initiative (EDI). This year, 340 learners from 9 EDI schools entered the Olympiad.
EDI is an expansive and inclusive component of the Olympiad, practically helping learners in schools in the mining communities associated with De Beers enjoy the benefits of the Olympiad and increasing confidence in the use of English in these communities. Importantly this support is also adding some fun by providing an opportunity for learners to compete at a national level.
Prizes for the English Olympiad awarded are as follows:
- The Top 3 HL candidates receive R33 000, R30 000 and R27 000 respectively.
- The Top 10 candidates in the FAL exam receive cash prizes from SACEE.
- The Top 15 HL candidates and Top 5 FAL candidates were invited to attend the Grade 12 National Schools Festival in Grahamstown/Makhanda. Their participation is sponsored by De Beers. The English Olympiad prize-giving ceremony is held during this Festival where the rank order of the top winners is announced.
- The Top 42 candidates in the HL exam and the Top 8 candidates in the FAL exam receive free tuition scholarships for their first year of study at Rhodes University, immediately upon successful completion of the matriculation examinations, and subject to meeting the university’s entry requirements.
- All candidates who complete the paper with sufficient comment receive certificates indicating a classified evaluation ranging from Participation to Gold.
‘To be placed in the top 50 is no mean achievement,’ said Dr Malcolm Venter, National Chairperson of SACEE, 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 an ability to express themselves in a creative style, while at the same time substantiating their views from the prescribed text.’
The Grahamstown Foundation and the South African Council for English Education (SACEE) announced the rank order of the Top 20 Home Language (HL) Exam and the Top 5 First Additional Language Exam (FAL) winners at an official prize giving ceremony held in Grahamstown/Makhanda on Saturday 29 June 2019.
|2019 English Olympiad TOP 15 Home Language (HL) winners in RANK ORDER|
|1||Ms||Shannon||Morrison||12||Cornwall Hill College|
|2||Mr||Sean||Cameron||12||Cornwall Hill College|
|3||Ms||Katherine||Duvenage||12||Roedean School South Africa|
|4||Ms||Emily||Barnes||12||Parktown High School for Girls|
|5||Ms||Yunan||Liu||12||Maru-A-Pula School Botswana|
|6||Ms||Ilana||Jacobs||12||St Mary’s DSG Pretoria|
|7||Ms||Kerin||Stead||11||York High School|
|8||Ms||Caitlyn||Venter||12||St Dominics Priory School|
|9||Ms||Amira||Karstaedt||10||King David High School Victory Park|
|10||Mr||Max||Milella||12||St John’s College|
|11||Ms||Caitlin||Honeywell||12||Durban Girls’ College|
|12||Ms||Marcelle||Rademeyer||12||St Cyprian’s School|
|13||Ms||Michaela||Scholtz||12||Durban Girls’ High School|
|14||Ms||Bianca||Jardim||12||Rhenish Girls’ High|
|15||Ms||Caro||Botha||12||Parel Vallei High School|
|2019 English Olympiad TOP 5 First Additional Language (FAL) winners in RANK ORDER|
|1||Ms||Lethokuhle||Khumalo||11||Port Shepstone High School|
|3||Ms||Bianca||Nel||12||Oudtshoorn High School|
|4||Mr||Dewan||Barnard||12||Oudtshoorn High School|
|5||Ms||Mieke||van den Berg||12||Hoërskool Garsfontein|
To download the complete results list in rank order please click on the following link:
The call for entries for the 2020 Olympiad will be issued to schools in mid July 2019.
2018 English Olympiad Results
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.’
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|
|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|
|18||Ms||Muskaan||Singh||Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School|
|19||Mr||Francois||Kemp||Camps Bay High School|
2018 First Additional Language (FAL) Top 20 in RANK ORDER!
|2||Mr||Tian||Louw||Paul Roos Gymnasium|
|4||Ms||Vuyolwethu||Memani||Zenex – Sakha Ikamva Project|
|5||Ms||Aretha||le Roux||Worcester Gymnasium|
|6||Ms||Ané||van der Walt||Die Hoërskool Menlopark|
|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|
|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|