Four Cape Town learners ranked in top 20 for English Olympiad - News | Western Cape Education Department

Four Cape Town learners ranked in top 20 for English Olympiad

23 July 2018

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate four Cape Town learners who were placed in the top 20 learners in the 2018 Home Language English Olympiad.

They are as follows:

5th place - Theodore Pauw from Jan van Riebeeck High
7th place - Louise Goethals from Jan van Riebeeck High
15th place - Rebecca Behne from Rustenburg High School for Girls
19th place - Francois Kemp from Camps Bay High

Also worthy of mention is Tim Schlesinger (Rondebosch Boys' High), who was placed 33rd and was also one of the six South African finalists (all from Cape Town) to attend the International Mathematics Olympiad in July.

We also had three learners placed in the English First Additional Language top 10. They are as follows:
2nd place - Tian Louw from Paul Roos Gymnasium
5th place - Aretha Le Roux from Worcester Gymnasium
8th place - Cherith Millward from Brackenfell High School

A total of 6 411 candidates entered for the 2018 Olympiad. The winners were announced at the prize-giving held in Grahamstown on 10th July 2018.

'To be placed in the top 50 is no mean achievement,' said Dr Malcolm Venter, National Chairperson of the South African Council for English Education, which is responsible for the English Olympiad together Grahamstown Foundation. 'The Olympiad demands a considerable amount of preparation on the part of the candidates, and they have to face a three-hour examination which requires answers that show original thinking and an ability to express themselves in a creative style, while at the same time substantiating their views from the prescribed text.' Each year the Olympiad is centred around a theme based on a literary anthology. The theme for the 2018 Olympiad was 'The poetry of war and peace', and was based on an anthology entitled We will remember them.

My hearty congratulations go to all learners who took part. I am proud of your achievements.


The English Olympiad first started as a small project in 1976 when Dr Malcolm Venter, a member of the Eastern Cape branch committee of SACEE (and now the Council's National Chairperson) was asked to organise such an event locally. The first competition attracted 119 entries and the winner received what was then a grand prize of R50.

The following year the Grahamstown Foundation agreed to take over the general administration of the SACEE English Olympiad and the competition was extended to cover the whole of the old Cape Province. The number of entries rose to 332 that year. In 1978, the Olympiad was further extended to include all parts of South Africa and the number of entries has continued to rise substantially from then on.

The top fifteen candidates are invited to attend the National Schools Festival in Grahamstown with all expenses paid. Each also receives a cash/book prize. In addition, Rhodes University offers the top 50 candidates free tuition scholarships for any course of study.

The English Olympiad has been sponsored by De Beers since 1985.