Qoqa Secondary’s Anele Mlambo wins top prize in poetry at Atlantic Ocean Competition

Anele Mlambo, a 14-year-old Grade 10 learner at Qoqa Secondary School, achieved a remarkable feat by clinching the 1st prize in the poetry category at the prestigious 2023 Atlantic Ocean Competition.

The South African Environmental Observation Network (NRF-SAEON) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 Atlantic Ocean Competition. This annual national school competition, hosted in partnership with the Department of Science and Innovation, received entries in categories of poetry, art and video.

A call for entries was opened in October 2023 and closed mid-November and NRF-SAEON received approximately 250 entries from schools all over South Africa.

The competition themes for 2023 were:

How do you or your community connect to the Atlantic Ocean?

Indigenous Knowledge and the Atlantic Ocean

Marine Pollution in the Atlantic Ocean

Climate Change and the Atlantic Ocean

Sustainable fisheries and the Atlantic Ocean

The competition winners in the poetry category were Anele Mlambo (1st prize) from Qoqa Secondary School in Orange Farm; Phillip Kroon (2nd prize) from St. Andrew’s School in Bloemfontein; and Nahum Jones (3rd prize) from Trinity Grammar Christian Primary School in Cape Town.

The winners in the art competition categories were Mia E. Watson from Trinity Grammar Christian Primary School; Leche Sampson from Bethelsdorp Comprehensive School; and Mpumeleo van Wyk from Bethelsdorp Comprehensive School in Gqeberha.The video competition first prize went to Aman Pati from Kingfisher Private School in Phalaborwa; and the second prize went to Vivek Pauly, also from Kingfisher Private School.

The Atlantic Ocean art, poetry and video competition was conceptualised to engage, educate and inspire all Grade R to 12 learners in the country to appreciate and protect the ocean. This competition provides a platform for creative expression, awareness raising, environmental stewardship and the cultural diversity of our people to connect to the Atlantic Ocean. Says Dr Mary-Jane Bopape, NRF-SAEON Managing Director, “NRF-SAEON extends our heartfelt congratulations to the winners of the Atlantic Ocean Competition. Your dedication and passion for ocean conservation is inspiring. To all aspiring learners, we encourage you to dive into the depths of creativity when the 2024 competition reopens. Let’s continue to explore, learn, and protect our precious ocean together.”

A call for the 2024 Atlantic Ocean Competition will be issued in April 2024.

Reflecting on Anele’s achievement, the Maths and Science educator at Qoqa Secondary, Sboniso Mdlalose, expressed immense pride in his student’s accomplishment, emphasizing the role of teachers in nurturing and inspiring young talent. He commended Anele for her dedication and success, highlighting her victory as a testament to the school’s commitment to excellence and positive change in the community.

In an interview with Orange Farm News, Anele expressed her joy and gratitude for winning the top prize, attributing her success to the encouragement she received from her mentor, Mdlalose, and the unwavering support of her school community. She described poetry as a powerful means of self-expression and voiced her honor at being recognized among her peers.

Anele’s triumph not only highlights her individual talent and hard work but also serves as a source of pride and inspiration for Qoqa Secondary School and the wider community. Her achievement underscores the transformative impact of education and the potential for young minds to make a meaningful difference in society.

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