Spelling bee star scours dictionary for African title

Hlulani Baloyi from Malamulele in Limpopo will once again represent SA in a spelling competition in Uganda later this month.
Hlulani Baloyi from Malamulele in Limpopo will once again represent SA in a spelling competition in Uganda later this month.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Young spelling bee champ will once again represent South Africa in the Africa Spelling Bee Competition after being put into the wrong age group last year.

Hlulani Baloyi, 13, was last year the pride of her village in Malamulele, Limpopo after she qualified to compete in Kenya with other African champions.

However she was left disappointed after she was placed in an older age group where she only made it to the second round.

“I learned a lot in that competition even though I was put into the wrong age group. I am now prepared to study hard and have the confidence to try again this year,” she said.

Baloyi who is now in grade 8 at Nyukani Education Centre in Giyani said she has been spending her winter school holidays to prepare for the competition set to take place in Uganda in October. She will be competing in the 14-18 age group.

“I’ve been reading through the dictionary to find new words and I’ve been using last year’s words from the 14-18 competition to prepare,” she said.

Her mother, Tinyiko Baloyi said her daughter has recently learned more than a thousand new words to add to her growing vocabulary.

“I am very proud of her and hope her future will be bright. This year I want to travel with her so that she can have full confidence and my support, but we don’t have enough funds for me,” she said.

The proud mother said the Baloyi’s would need R18,200 to pay for flight tickets and accommodation.

The spelling champion said she hopes her continued success and prowess with languages will lead to her being a successful author and lawyer.

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