In December FunDza ran (for the fourth year in a row) a survey competition for its Fanz readers on the platform. Through the survey FunDza gets a mass of information about its online readers, their reading habits and needs. This valuable information assists us in identifying areas for improvement. There were more than 2,000 survey respondents.

For the competition, survey respondents had to answer all 27 questions – and not submit duplicate entries – to be considered a valid competition entry. FunDza weeded out the non-valid entries and then put the 1677 names into a computer program to select the winners by random draw. The five lucky winners were then contacted – each received a R1000 in cash as a prize and a cool FunDza goodie bag with awesome treats for them to enjoy and if possible, to share with friends and family.

Here is a slice of what our lucky winners had to say when they received the great news:

Kwanele Balele hails all the way from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape. He expressed how much he loved reading Fundza material and writing stories of his own. Kwanele prides himself in being a provider for his family and we suppose the stars aligned when he received our call, he said: “I am really excited, honored and grateful to be announced as one of the winners of the Fundza Summer Survey Competition. I didn’t expect to win, but as a person of faith, I always believe with God anything is possible. I thank you Fundza team for this prize money it means a lot to me. To those who didn’t win don’t give up guys your time will come.”

Kwanele further went on to say, “with this money I’ll buy a school uniform for my nephew as he is starting his schooling this year. And, my mother will receive a small gift as she’s always the one encouraging me to keep on trying. The rest I’ll see what to do with it. With Fundza I’ve learned a lot about how to improve my writing skills, not to mention getting an opportunity to be published, for free.”

Llaka Tshasane from Westdene, Johannesburg, laughed with excitement when she heard the news. She kept on asking, “Is this for real?” She further went on to express how much winning meant to her and how grateful she was to have been selected as a winner.

“I feel very blessed to have been chosen as a winner in this competition; as an emerging writer, it brings me joy and confidence to have someone else believe in and enjoy my work. I am planning to save the money from this competition to publish more of my work in the near future should certain companies require payment.”

Llaka added, “Fundza is a great opportunity and platform for writers and readers to explore the field of literature. It is rare that a glance is spared for the talent in South Africa and to have a big organisation such as FunDza that wants to grow readers and developing young writers brings joy to me. I am proud to be part of it.”

Shannon Vlotman from Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town, could not believe what her ears were hearing when we gave her the call.

Writing to us later, she said it was only after the phone call that she started screaming from excitement. She said, “winning to me means I am able to pay a portion of my study loan and the rest I will pamper myself with.”

Asiphe Ntoyanto from Khayelitsha, Cape Town, said winning the competition was an answer to a prayer as her life’s journey is currently leading her to the path of independence. “I am extremely excited; it feels so good being selected as a winner. I am over the moon,” she said.

“I will use the prize money to rent a new place to stay as I have been living with my uncle. I have recently secured a job at Mc Donald’s and will start afresh with the money. I would like to encourage other young people to write so as to express themselves and who knows they might just win a competition, like me.”

Bhekithemba Vilane, our fifth and final selected winner all the way from Nelspruit, was overjoyed at being named as one of the lucky survey winners.

“I am delighted to win the competition now my English is more advanced, I would like to encourage other people to read and write more for Fundza… thank you,” he added.

Congratulations to these winners and heartfelt gratitude to all the entrants who have given us such valuable data too. We’ll be sharing the results of the survey later in the year.