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Thursday, March 22, 2018


(Michaela Crankshaw, Jemma Kasavan, Jaskaran Rajaruthnam & Sam Walker - on their way to New Zealand to represent SA in the World Finals Lit Quiz Champs in July. Photo by Sharlene Versfeld)

Manor Gardens Primary School, a small public school tucked away behind the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, has done it again by winning the National Kids Literature Championship this year, and all going to plan, will represent South Africa in the World Finals in Auckland, New Zealand in July this year.

The school’s first team comprising Michaela Crankshaw, Jemma Kasavan, Jaskaran Rajaruthnam and Sam Walker took first position in the national champs held at St David’s in Johannesburg on February 24, 2018.

“This is a wonderful result for our small public school and we are all very proud of our Kids Lit Quiz champions who were up against a number of bigger and more affluent schools,” says Carol Lottering, the principal of Manor Gardens Primary. “We are extremely grateful for the effort and energy that Isobel Sobey, the Media Centre teacher who co-ordinates and coaches the teams, and other teachers at this school who work tirelessly at constantly raising the bar in education, and their incredible ability to instil a love for reading here.”

Kids Lit Quiz is the brain child of Wayne Mills, a university lecturer from New Zealand, who came up with the concept 27 years ago. He calls it “The Sport of Reading”. He developed the quiz to promote reading for pleasure and to reward good readers in the same way that sports stars are rewarded by their schools and communities. The first quiz took place in 1991. In that first year 14 teams took part. Today it has grown into a hugely popular annual event spanning five continents with approximately 20,000 children participating in heats throughout the year.  

“The team will be up against tough competition from China, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia,” explains Isobel Sobey. “The four members in our team are all on Grade 7 and are avid readers with deep interest in books. They have read and worked hard for this since Grade 1 and are deserving winners. They will have a wonderful time in New Zealand and soak up all the lessons and experiences that come their way.

“Now we begin the hard work of intense coaching for the international event, as well as fundraising to help the children reach an amazing goal,” she explains. “The Kids Lit Quiz organization in New Zealand covers accommodation, meals and activities for the teams but transport to the World Final is not covered. So we are gratefully accepting any and all donations or fundraising ideas to cover the travelling costs for the four team members and two adult coaches. We estimate these costs to be in the region of R100,000. As the school is a registered Public Benefit Organization (tax reference 930000373) it can provide receipts for tax purposes for donations of R1,000 or more.”

Manor Gardens Primary is appealing to individuals, businesses, corporates and past pupils to help get their school to New Zealand by making a small (or large) contribution. For more information contact Isobel Sobey on 031 261 1401 or