Thee Day for Mpumalanga’s first FinLit Spelling Bee competition is finally upon us, where learners from Sitintile, Coronation, Sidungeni and Sibukosetfu Secondary Schools will attest to the motto of the Banking Association’s flagship generic financial literacy programme-StarSaver™ , “Ligotswa Limanti” a siSwati adage meaning “best shape a stick whilst moist”. Today Mpumalanga learners will not only be celebrating Youth Month (June), with Financial Literacy flair but will do so while rubbing shoulders with financial gurus from various Banks and Financial institutions, Government officials from Department of Education-Mpumalanga, Teachers, Parents, Volunteers, local and international guests, with a dollop of StarSaver™’s own Stars/Ambassadors- Tebogo “ProVerb” Tekisho, Mpumi Mbethe and Sibusiso Vilane.

The day’s proceedings at Bongani Mountain Lodge, promise to be a hive of activities as ProVerb, the host of the day, ushers everyone through the exciting line-up featuring nerve easing comedy for the learners, messages of support by various institutions, encouragement by StarSaver™ ambassadors and the SURPRISE of carefully selected music pieces by the programme’s own ambassador, ProVerb, (performing songs: “Nothing New” and “My Day Will Come” a special message ProVerb would like to share with the learners) and of course the highly unnerving, edge-sending competition which sets both learners and observers to heightened anticipation.

The Mpumalanga FinLit Spelling Bee Activation is a continuation of the work which began during the Global Money Week at the 8th Annual National Launch of StarSaver™ and Inaugural FinLit Spelling Bee Competition in March 2015, Kimberley, Northern Cape. The competition aims to encourage learners to go beyond learning the English language in class but to develop better understanding of the language through other subject areas such as financial terms and concepts that are convenient for everyday use and are meaningful for the Grades 7, 8 and 9 for their Economic Management Science classes. This is done as an extension of the StarSaver™ Programme which purposes to foster a culture of saving in children and youth. Spelling is a significant part of learning and developing key cognitive skills. Spelling is a gateway to reading and writing and the spelling bee will improve learners’ retention of financial concepts that touch on our daily lives.

June is Youth Month and June 16 in South Africa observes the uprisings and struggle that contributed to the 21 years of freedom in South Africa. In 2015, Youth is encouraged to wear sneakers on Youth Day and participate in the Youth Walk taking place in the City of Tshwane, as the country continues to commemorate and mark 39 years since 16 June 1976, during which momentous events that shaped today’s freedom evolved. “In pursuit of the Youth Month theme, the Youth Walk is a way of signifying or acknowledging their role in achieving the vision of this country”. The theme for this year’s youth month celebrations is “Youth Moving South Africa Forward. And we believe excellence in education is one of the ways this can be achieved.

At the end of the competition the participating/competing learners and winners will walk away with various prizes that are for educational purposes including: Calculators, Business and Economic Studies dictionaries, pens, ruler sets, financial literacy games, word games, backpacks, drawstring bags, Books: Long Walk to Freedom and Sibusiso Vilane’s “To the Top From Nowhere”, StarSaver™ Aflatoun club button, T-shirts, ProVerb’s “The Read Tape” CD, mobile phone chargers and wireless headphones. The Top 3 winners will be awarded with trophies and will be pleasantly surprised by a spontaneous invitation to the Gauteng FinLit Spelling Bee activation to be held in July, Savings Month at the Apartheid Museum just after Mandela Day, on the 23rd.

The MEC for Education in Mpumalanga, Ms Reginah Mhaule was quoted saying: “This programme resonates well with our endeavour to instil confidence, broaden the horizons and inculcate entrepreneurial prowess of our young children. I also wish to express my profound appreciation to the Banking Association South Africa and its partners for conceptualising this idea since it rekindles healthy and productive engagements between our learners. The Mpumalanga Department of Education supports this initiative.” MEC Reginah Mhaule

The Banking Association South Africa would like to thank the Mpumalanga Department of Education for the continued support of the private sector’s efforts to improve the education outcomes of the learners, such Public Private Partnerships are what the National Development Plan calls for to move the country forward.