Community Development Education

Lindsay Mukaronda makes it to Africa Spelling Bee Competition

Spelling Bee

By Byron Mutingwende


For a Grade 7 Bryden Country School pupil, Lindsay Mukaronda, representing Zimbabwe at the third African Spelling Championship at the Ocean Beach Resort in Kenya from 22 to 24 November 2018 is a dream come true.

Born on 28 December 2005, the 13-year-old Lindsay was ecstatic about the upcoming trip and promised to do her family and nation proud.

“I look forward to excelling at the Spelling Bee competitions. English is one of my favourite subjects including Mathematics. I love reading and I am good at spellings so I know I will be the best. I will raise the flag of Zimbabwe high and make my mother proud,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay paid tribute to her best friend and schoolmate, Ryn Netiwe Mkanganwi, without whom she says there will be no inspiration to conquer the continent. Lindsay revealed that she and Netiwe encourage each other to read books and focus on attaining the best academic results.

Every year, the Zimbabwe Youth Development Trust (Spelling Bee Zimbabwe) invites students from all over the country to participate in the Zimbabwe National Spelling Bee competitions where winners will participate in the African Spelling Bee competitions.

It was all smiles for renowned lawyer, Advocate Rachel Chibaya when she received the news that her daughter Lindsay Mukaronda was in the Zimbabwean team to participate in the third edition of the prestigious African Spelling Bee Competition. The R. Chibaya Law Chambers is among the companies sponsoring the trip for the Zimbabwean representatives.


“I am a proud Mum. It feels good to know that my daughter Lindsay Mukaronda is part of the Dream Team that will represent Zimbabwe at the African Spelling Bee Championships in Kenya. That honour comes hard on the heels of having me and my company R Chibaya Law Chambers having received an award for providing first-class and comprehensive legal services to individual and corporates. To God be the Glory,” said Advocate Chibaya.


Fifteen (15) Spelling Bee organisations from across the African Continent have joined together to host the 3rd African Spelling Competition to be held in Mombas, Kenya from the 22nd – 24th of November 2018.


Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone will be represented at the prestigious event.


The Spelling Championship is jointly organised by the Africa Spelling Bee, a consortium of likeminded Spelling Bee Organisations from across Africa. Zimbabwe Youth Development Foundation Trust (Spelling Bee Zimbabwe) is the organisation that coordinates Spelling Bee Zimbabwe. The Director is Mr James Bayanai.


The Spelling Bee concept originated many years ago in the United States of America. It is about the glory of being able to overcome the complexities of words which makes one a Champion Speller.


The overall objective of the competition is to stimulate an interest amongst learners in learning languages and other subjects that will broaden their horizons.


Together the Spelling Bee Organisations have run National Competitions shaping the lives of well over 5 million learners across the continent.


The first and second African Spelling Championship took place in 2016 and 2017 respectively in Johannesburg South Africa. The winner of the 2016 edition was South Africa’s


The event brings together over 90 National Spelling Bee Champions from participating Countries, over 30 Teachers (Heads of English Panels accompanying the Champions), over 30 National Spelling Bee Coordinators and over 300 International Guests including Government Officials, Education Consultants, Media Personalities, Publishers, Motivational Speakers among other high profile Stakeholders in the Education Sector from across Africa.


The competition will involve the Top 3 finalists from every Country’s National Spelling Bee Competitions in both junior and senior categories. Winners will receive various prizes ranging from scholarships, laptops etc.


Zimbabwe participated in both 2016 and 2017 championships.


2016 Edition


The event brought together twenty seven children from nine different countries across the African continent to compete in a battle of spelling for a grand prize of a full undergraduate tuition scholarship sponsored by Monash South Africa.


Zameer Dada became the first African Spelling Bee Champion after outsmarting 27 spellers from across the continent. He was closely followed by Betelhem Kidane Tedla from Ethiopia and Kenya’s Alma Wanjiku in joint second place. Nigeria’s Azaino Oghenekaro Jesse placed fourth.


The vocabulary exhibition brought together spellers from Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe making it one of the biggest African educational unions for children under the age of sixteen.


The contest took place on 16th July, 2016 at the Riverstone Lodge situated in the World Heritage site: Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg. The event was supported by a number of corporates including South African Airways as the official airliner and Vodacom South Africa who presented all the spellers with a SmartTab tablet. All Spellers also received cash prizes, medals and gift bags. Core sponsorship for the event, as well as transportation for the delegates during the 4-day stay was provided by Fleet Africa.


The teams arrived on Wednesday 13th July, 2016 and were hosted by the South African chapter of the African Spelling Bee Consortium – comprising the two leading spelling bee organisations in the country, Msanzi Spelling Bee and Spell It South Africa.


Upon arrival the children and their chaperones were taken for dinner at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund where all the participants were taken through storytelling and drum beating. On Thursday 14th July, 2016 all the spelling bee children went through an orientation process, a campus tour at Monash South Africa and witnessed the launch of the African Children’s Stories Project. In the afternoon the children were taken for leisure time at a nearby shopping mall before watching a movie at a cinema.


On Friday 15th July, 2016 the teams were guests of honour at the 2016 Annual Nelson Mandela Cerebrations at Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund under the theme “Madiba’s legacy through the eyes of a Child”. The day ended with a visit to the world famous Vilakazi Street and Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto.


After the gruelling competition on the morning of the Saturday, the event culminated in a ‘braai’ with pap and boerewors, on the banks of the Crocodile River outside Johannesburg, in true South African style.


All delegates returned safely to the respective countries on Sunday the 17th July to heroes’ welcomes.


2017 Edition


The following countries were represented

Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe

Winner was : Sherriff Muhammad Oluwatobi from Nigeria


Team Zimbabwe for 2018 Competitions

The member are Blessing Mazanhi (New Hope College); Ryn Netiwe Mkangamwi (Bryden County School); Lindsey Mukaronda (Bryden County School); Mufaro Mhanda (New Hope College); Priscilla Mwoyofiri (Westview College); Takudzwa Makombe (New Hope College); Tariro Chawanda (New Hope College) and Tanaka Matika (Spak Carlswald in South Africa)

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende