“I worked very hard for my dreams to come true. Education is the key to (my) success; you must know what you want in life.” Inspiring words indeed but to meet and talk to Nkanyiso Biyela is to be acutely aware that the determined 20-year-old has an inner conviction which could see him achieve anything in his life.
Nkanyiso Biyela was announced as the overall winner of the inaugural Ibali Lami national writing competition on the 18th July 2014, at a prize-giving event held at the Department of Design. The competition, aimed at Grade 8-12 learners in South Africa, was sponsored by Reach and run in partnership with the Department of Communications, UNICEF, FunDza Literacy Trust and Pearson South Africa.
Ibali Lami, meaning ‘My Story’ in Xhosa, was designed to encourage young people to develop their writing skills. Learners were asked to write a short story of up to 300 words on their mobile phones in which they imagine themselves as a 25-year-old in South Africa. Learners were encouraged to write in their home languages.
The five finalists were chosen by public votes, and were invited to attend the event, with Nkanyiso Biyela from Kwazulu Natal being announced as the ultimate winner. Hip Hop Afro-man, Emile YX? and members of his practical Hip Hop School performed for finalists and guests and performed the song he compiled, Set Your Goals High, working the five winner stories into the song.
Officials from the GCIS, UNICEF, Pearson, FunDza Literacy Trust, the Dutch Consul General, WCED, and schools were all in attendance to celebrate with the finalist and winner and the success of the campaign.