Macmillan Education Eswatini has launched the first of its kind Schools’ Poetry and Writing Competition. This comes as fruit of exceptional companionship between Eswatini Schools’ English Association and Macmillan. The launch was held at The Happy Valley Hotel in Zulwini on the 3rd of June 2022. The Covid-19 pandemic had adverse effects on teaching and learning, and further sensitised everyone to the need to incorporate technology in teaching. It is against this backdrop that the theme for this competition runs: Poetry and Technology for a Brighter Future. The competition is aimed at unearthing, grooming and nurturing unrecognised talents amongst learners in the country. All high schools in the country shall partake in this adventure. Since Macmillan has been supporting and sponsoring schools’ debates and other activities for learners within schools’ culture for years, after a thorough consultation with The English Inspectorate, it has come to our understanding that there lies an unnoticed gap in poetry and writing initiatives. English as a language is facing a challenge as far as local content material is concerned. Most of the literature, especially poetry anthologies, is written by foreign authors – hence the need to groom and empower a pool of young writers for our future publications. The national competitions will run throughout the four regions of the country from cluster levels to regional levels, up until contestants reach the final stage at national level.
The launch was indeed a successful head start to the competitions. Present at the launch were people of great caliber, esteemed guests from the ministry of education and training, and learners from various schools who entertained the audience with great extracts from poems and speeches. Thanking Macmillan Education Eswatini for this initiative, Martha Shongwe, the chief inspector for secondary schools, said “our deepest gratitude goes to Macmillan for tirelessly supporting education in the country over the years. The company has been seen as the greatest partner in education and its effort is really significant.”
We are confident that through the National Poetry and Writing Competition we shall have a massive impact on our education, as well as identify and further empower our young prospective writers. Mbongeni Mbingo, the managing editor of Eswatini Observer, one of the greatest national newspapers in Eswatini, presented on Poetry and the Future. He narrated that; “Poetry is the future and the future is in the present.” He further pledged to freely publish all winning poems from the learners so as to motivate them. This competition will be of great impact and has the potential to grow by leaps and bounds as other stakeholders like the media houses join the train. As a company we expect more mileage and marketing platforms through this initiative, since our sales team shall be allowed to make virtual and physical presentations during these competitions, marketing mainly our new titles such as ‘The Amaryllis’, a literature book for lower secondary students.
Schools received this competition with great excitement, which helps ensure a positive image for us as a corporate entity.