Pupil (13) to represent SA in Kenya

Hlulani Baloyi from Magangeni Primary School in Malamulele will represent SA in a spelling competition in Kenya later this month. / ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Hlulani Baloyi from Magangeni Primary School in Malamulele will represent SA in a spelling competition in Kenya later this month. / ANTONIO MUCHAVE

A grade 7 pupil from Limpopo will be jetting off to Kenya to represent South Africa in the annual African Spelling Bee competition later this month.

Hlulani Baloyi, 13, said it was the correct spelling of the word "Pharaoh" that earned her the stripes as Mzansi Spelling Bee and qualified her to compete against the best in Africa.

"I read the dictionary everyday to practise but that word I remembered from a passage I read in the Bible," she said.

Baloyi from Magangeni Primary School in rural Malamulele practises everyday and goes to weekend classes where she has studied over a 100 words in the past few weeks.

"I've been writing five tests a day to prepare for my trip."

She said her favourite book is Nelson Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom, which has been instrumental in her love for literature.

"My favourite word is freedom. It represents what the greatest hero in South Africa has sacrificed for himself and us," said Baloyi.

Although her school has many problems like overcrowding, shortage of classrooms and no library, Baloyi has not let this stop her dreams.

Magangeni remains a top-performing primary school in Limpopo and the principal, Lucky Mashaba, will be representing Limpopo for a lifetime achievement award for his work in education later this month.

"The school has been so supportive of me and they were able to find sponsors for me to help pay for my trip," Baloyi said.

"I am a little bit nervous. I've researched on who I will be competing against and I'm excited to meet people from different cultures and languages and making new friends."

The director of the Mzansi Spelling Bee Competition, Ntsako Mkhabela, said the prizes are still to be confirmed but a cash prize and a free undergraduate degree at Monash University, north-west of Johannesburg, would be up for grabs.

Baloyi's mother, Tinyiko, said she was proud of her daughter. "I am very proud of her. I am looking forward to seeing her succeed."

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