1. The De Beers English Olympiad is a competition that draws over 8 000 entries each year from around South Africa and its neighbouring countries. The competition is organised jointly by the Grahamstown Foundation and the South African Council for English Education.

2. The primary objectives of the De Beers English Olympiad are:

  • To enrich learners through the study of English; encouraging them to explore English beyond the scope of the school syllabus;
  • To encourage critical thinking and creative writing while learners enjoy the challenges of preparing for and writing the examination;
  • To promote the English language and stimulate the study of English amongst first and second English Language speakers;
  • To proactively increase the participation of candidates from previously disadvantaged schools; and
  • To provide access to these opportunities to study for motivated learners unable to pay the entry fee, through the provision of bursaries.
3. The competition is open to all learners in Grade 10, 11 and 12 in the year that the examination is written. Entries are only accepted through schools. As the examination is based on an open-book system, every candidate receives an anthology and a study guide, included in the entry fee of R125,00.

4. The theme for the 2018 English Olympiad is "War and Peace", and the anthology is entitled We will Remember Them. This year, the anthology consists solely of a selection of poetry relating to war times, and a language section which focuses on the language of propaganda.

5. To enter the 2018 English Olympiad, you can download the 2018 Call for Entries here AND download the 2018 Entry Form here, or contact the Olympiad Officer should you wish to have the Call for Entries and Entry Form emailed to you (an MS Word version of the Entry Form is available by request).

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 08:00 - 16h30

Tel: 046 603 1145 /1107
Fax: 046 622 7462 or 086 262 6048 (note new fax number since 2013)

E-mail: olympiad@foundation.org.za


Candidates are required to prepare for a 3-hour, open-book examination. Candidates may use the anthology during the examination, enabling more creative answers. There is a choice of a Home Language (HL) or First Additional Language (FAL) examination. The FAL examination is based on the same anthology and theme as the HL examination, but with less material to study. It is by no means an easier paper, but there will be fewer question choices and simpler language used in some of the questions. All schools are encouraged to enter their candidates to write the HL examination. However, candidates may choose to write the FAL examination, but only if they are registered at their school for English FAL as an FET subject. Teachers must indicate clearly on the Entry Form whether their candidates are writing the HL Paper or the FAL examination. If there is no indication for the FAL examination, it is assumed that the candidates will write the HL examination.

7. The De Beers English Olympiad will be written at your school on Tuesday, 6 March 2018. Schools may start the examination at any time between 11h00 and 14h00 on the examination day, provided the candidates are allowed 3 hours to write. Please note: It is not possible, for practical and security reasons, to allow schools to write the Examination on different dates. Schools are requested to ensure that the date and time of the examination are included in their calendars for 2018. Please make sure that your candidates will be able to write on this day. The date of the examination is determined by the time needed to process the results so that the top 15 candidates can be invited to attend the National Schools Festival in July 2018.

8. The 2018 prizes include:

  • ALL CANDIDATES who complete the English Olympiad sufficiently enough to warrant assessment, receive a certificate indicating their examination evaluation (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Merit or Participation). Candidates who do not complete the paper, or whose answers are clearly insufficient, will not receive a certificate.
  • The top 3 HL candidates will receive substantial cash prizes as follows: First place:
    R33 000; Second place: R30 000; Third place: R27 000. These rewards broaden the winners' opportunities for possible further study or travel.
  • The top 10 FAL candidates will receive cash prizes, and/or books, or book vouchers. Rhodes University Scholarships - The Top 42 HL candidates, and the Top 8 FAL candidates will be offered free tuition scholarships for their first year of any course of study at Rhodes University immediately upon successful completion of their NSC examination, subject to meeting the University’s entry requirements.
9. All candidates, HL and FAL, must study the anthology to prepare for the examination. The 2018 examination will consist of three sections:

  • Section A: an essay (50 marks)
  • Section B: a piece of transactional / creative writing (20 marks)
  • Section C: questions on the language section (30 marks)

Every candidate receives candidate receives a copy of the anthology, together with a Study Guide, both of which are included in the entry fee.

10. CLOSING DATE: Friday 27 October 2017 and the entry fee is R125.00.

11. For further information, you may visit the De Beers English Olympiad website at: http://www.saenglisholympiad.org.za/

12. We would like to encourage all schools to take the opportunity to participate in this exciting competition.

13. Kindly bring the content of this minute to the attention of the teachers concerned.

DATE: 2017:10:10