We all have something that is special to us – perhaps it is something that someone gave you, or something you found, or something you saved up for. These special things come with memories and stories attached…

FunDza ran a writing competition inviting entrants to write about something that is special to them. They needed to send a photograph and also a narrative essay.

There were so many lovely entries for our judges to read, with 103 senior entries and 70 junior entries. Here are the winners, runners-ups and essays that the judges thought rated highly commended or commended. Congratulations to all!!!

We called the lucky winners and runners up to give them the great news. This is what they had to say:

Senior Winner: Siya Mahomba
“To me, winning the competition means that all the work I have been putting towards improving my writing skills is paying off. It kind of serves as some form of validation that we as young writers often need to keep going. I will use the prize money for a trip to Johannesburg that I have been meaning to do since the year began but kept on putting off due to financial constraints.”
Read the essay: I earned my special Sissy Boy stripes

Senior Runner Up: Atobela Toni
“Firstly I would like to thank you all for having chosen me and my work it means so much to me to have something I wrote recognized like this I am truly honoured and greatly appreciate the confidence boost this has given me. Thank you very much, the prize money would be of great help as I was needing to buy a life science text book for my studies and I will use it for that.”
Read the essay: A nightdress of memories

Senior Runner-up: Bandile Sibuyi
“I truly didn’t expect to win because I was never very good at writing English essays in high school so winning this really means a lot to me and it is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. I am very grateful to Fundza for the great work that they do. It is such opportunities which help young aspiring writers to realize their potential and continue to try other things in the future. Thank you very much.”
Read the essay: Lefty and the other shoe

Junior Winner: Motebang Disene
“My name is Motebang Disene. Wow, words are literally failing me when I try to explain my joy of winning once again on this broad and tough competition. But this really proves that I am worth it and I really can write good stories. I also feel empowered and strong enough to tackle anything that comes in my writing journey. It’s all thanks to you. I would definitely be buying myself a new and advanced phone and not forgetting studying materials because I am actually doing my matric year.”
Read the essay: Pedal forward

Junior Runner-up: Zonke Thwala
“I am so excited about winning this competition, I still can’t believe it. I will buy myself a new pair of jeans with the money. Thank you FunDza.”
Read the essay: Yellow card

Junior Runner-up: Justice Ripinga
“This is more than just any time of winning to me because this was not just any competition, this was a writing competition, and it has been an epiphany to me; it has been a sign that I should keep writing because I am not the only one who enjoys reading my writing. Winning this competition means I will keep writing and also encourage the writing culture in many circles of my life, from my family to friends! I will definitely save half of my prize money and then reward myself with rest, probably by buying something tangible which will always remind me to keep writing.”
Read the essay: You win some you learn some

The judges also acknowledged the following individuals for submitting entries that the felt were highly commended and commended.

Highly Commended:
Hope Mashau – Key to his heart
Shakihar Singh – Underdog
Kwandile Thwala – Huh
Kgalemelo Hlatshwayo- The guitar I am yet to play
Tebogo Koza – Belt bites boy
Malisambilu Pearl Mutula – My mother’s Tshivenda Traditional Clothes

Anesu Jahura – Friend
Heather Kiara Louw – It only takes a few blank pages
Asanda July Brandley – My life my Treasure
Nivashnie Poonsamy – “Angels cry too
Paul Mabote – My tattoo of my mother’s name
Amanda Mpinga – “My sentimental empty gallery”
Hloziwe Hlophe – “What a bed experience”
Samkelo Nzama – My first ever Lacoste sneakers
Milisa Beja – I draw with silver
Amanda Carol Mnyadi – A tale of two hearts

Congratulations to everyone who entered and well done to those who won prizes.