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Windybrow Arts Centre’s Inaugural Spelling Bee to Ignite Literacy and Learning in Inner-City Johannesburg

On Saturday, 30 September, the Windybrow Arts Centre, in collaboration with Camp I Am and Nando’s, is set to host its first-ever Spelling Bee competition for schools in inner-city Johannesburg. This exciting event will bring together thirty-seven Grade 7 learners from IH Harris Primary School, Mahlasedi College, New Model Private College, and participants of the Windybrow’s Literacy and Homework Support Programme to showcase their spelling prowess, compete for prizes, and earn the esteemed title of the city’s best speller. The Spelling Bee is a highlight of the Centre’s Literacy and Homework Support Programme, designed to empower local youth with critical language skills.

Connecting Through Literacy and Art

The Windybrow Arts Centre is a hub for connection and curiosity, dedicated to nurturing the talents and inquisitiveness of children and young adults. Through innovative programs rooted in best practice methodologies, the Centre fosters literacy skills and inspires the youth through the arts, driving positive social change in the community.

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Empowering Youth Through Spelling

Gerard Bester, Head of the Windybrow Arts Centre, says the Spelling Bee marks an exciting and novel opportunity for local learners – “many of whom have never participated in such an event, and a fun way for them to develop essential skills”. Nando’s Benmore Gardens Branch Manager, Collen Nxumalo, a proud alumnus of Hillbrow Theatre, wanted a space at the Windybrow Arts Centre to hold a spelling bee, and Bester immediately responded: “we want to partner”! Nxumalo, a committed advocate for children and youth of the neighbourhoods surrounding the Windybrow Arts Centre wants to “offer learners in Johannesburg a stage to showcase their remarkable spelling abilities”. Bester reconnected with Kai Crooks-Chissano, Executive Director of Camp I Am, a youth educational program. She worked with the Department of Basic Education to launch the national Spelling Bee in 2015, and has supported district, provincial and national competitions. Crooks-Chissano mentored the Windybrow Arts Centre, and crafted the challenging wordlist, which will remain a secret until an hour before the competition. “A Spelling Bee is a great way to ignite a passion for spelling, which serves as the gateway to reading and writing” said Crooks-Chissano. She added that “participating in the competition boosts learners’ confidence and competitive spirit, enhancing their self-esteem as they perform in front of an audience.” With a few days to go, Bester enthused “may the best learner win!”

Countdown to an Educational Showdown

Event Details

Date and Time: Saturday 30 September 2023, at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Windybrow Arts Centre, corner Nugget & Pietersen Street, Doornfontein, Hillbrow

Media Inquiries: Aroma Lebooa Cell: 079 771 1416 /011 832 1641