SACEE was shocked and saddened that their National Secretary, Patricia Bootland, passed away suddenly on 21 April this year. The following tribute was  read by the National Chairperson of SACEE, Dr Malcolm Venter, at her funeral held on 28 April:

Tribute to Patricia Bootland (1942 - 2016)

by Dr Malcolm Venter
(National Chairperson of SACEE)

28 April 2016

I have known Patricia – or Pat (she didn’t mind which version you used as long as you didn’t call her ‘Patty’!) for nearly 20 years in her role as National Secretary of the SA Council for English Education (SACEE). During that that she has provided sterling service and exhibited a passion for SACEE.

In SACEE we have known Pat to be

  • extremely diligent, efficient and dedicated;
  • a cheerful but no-nonsense colleague (Pat didn’t suffer fools gladly or tolerate people who did not do what was required of them);
  • a master of the English language;
  • creative and highly competent.
When Pat took over the office, it was in a state of disarray. Pat applied her organised and intelligent mind to the task of building up an infrastructure that would be the envy of any NGO. Together with our treasurer, Lesley Todd, Patricia guided us through rough waters when our finances were in the doldrums.

Pat has made great efforts to expand SACEE’s activities into new branches in KZN. She has also been very instrumental in trying to keep the Bloemfontein Branch alive after the local chairperson announced her intention to retire, and has been very helpful to the smaller, struggling, branches such as Polokwane.

My last email to Pat was sent on the evening before she went into hospital. Sadly, I don’t think she saw the message. It concerned the latest Newsletter, which she always puts together with minimal input from the branches. It testifies to Pat’s great competence and commitment. It was headed ‘well done’ and reads as follows:

Dear Patricia

I received my copies of the newsletter today.

Well done, once again, on a superb publication – readable, visually attractive, informative and - a rare thing these days – in correct English. You are a SACEE star!

We in SACEE shall sorely miss our ‘star’ – our anchor - and our dear colleague.

On behalf of SACEE, I offer our sincere condolences to Pat’s twin sister Pamela and her family. We realise that you, too, will miss her. May you find the strength to handle your unexpected loss.


SACEE Is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of the English Language. Founded in 1955, SACEE aims to maintain, promote and encourage education through the medium of English and to improve the standards of written and spoken English in South Africa.

Today, SACEE has eight active branches around the country – Bloemfontein, Border, Eastern Cape, Johannesburg,  Mid-Vaal, Polokwane, Pretoria and Western Cape. These branches are run by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. It is hoped that branches of SACEE may eventually be established in Kwa-Zulu Natal,  and Mpumalanga.  The individual branches organise many competitions, events and 'outreach' programmes within their own particular areas and these include such activities as creative writing competitions, spelling competitions, forum discussions. debating and the provision of readers in a number of Primary Schools.

Please note that SACEE unfortunately does not run a National Creative Writing Competition.   Some of the individual branches do however organise their own local Writing Competitions.  Pretoria's Creative Writing Competition is open to both Primary and High School pupils whose school is a member of their local branch of SACEE,   Johannesburg's Creative Writing Competition is open to High School pupils and the Mid-Vaal branch runs a Primary Schools' Creative Writing Competition. Our Border branch offers a Short Story Competition to local learners.    This arrangement also applies to debating activities which presently take place only in  the Johannesburg,  Bloemfontein and in our newest branch,   Polokwane.    If you wish to have more details of any of these various competitions, please go to the relevant 'Branch' page of this website - see list on left.

In addition to the various programmes and projects organised by the branches in their own local areas, SACEE incorporates four National projects:

  • The publication of English Alive, an annual anthology of writings from high schools and colleges in South Africa. This project has been in operation since 1967 and has seen a number of its entrants go on to become established writers. The copies of the publication are also very useful tools for teaching.
  • The De Beers English Olympiad, an annual literary competition for learners in high schools and colleges. This project, which is a joint project between SACEE and the Grahamstown Foundation, has been in existence since 1976 and offers very attractive prizes, including substantial cash prizes for the top three winners, a year’s free tuition at Rhodes University, books and book tokens.
  • The Language Challenge and Puzzle Parades which, as the name suggests, consists of a competition focused on language puzzles and tests. This competition is open to all Grades of learners.
  • World Schools Debating Leagues: Johannesburg,  Bloemfontein and Polokwane branches participate in these debating competitions.

In addition to the Branch and National activities described above,  SACEE is able to offer a first class editing and proof-reading service to individuals and businesses within South Africa.   SACEE retains  a panel of highly qualified and experienced individuals who are able to offer such services at a reasonable cost.  Please contact SACEE National Office for further details.

Contact details-  National Office:  Office Hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8.30am to 12.30pm

Admin/National Secretary

Postal Address: P O Box 12971, Queenswood, 0121

Tel: 0824488372

Fax: 0865036140

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Important News

SACEE celebrates its Diamond Jubilee!

The South African Council for English Education celebrated its 60th year in 2015.

It was in 1955 that SACEE was officially registered and its constitution adopted by a meeting of concerned citizens fearful of the decline in standards and the future of the English language in South Africa.

Records show that preliminary meetings to form an association began in Pretoria in 1954.  The initiative was strongly supported by the 'Sons of England' who felt, since they were mainly occupied with bursaries, that a new and autonomous body should be formed to promote the development of the language, especially at school level.

Today 60 years later, it is fascinating to reflect on the first draft policy of the new 'National Council for English Education'.

"It is emphasised that the proposed organisation is to be on strictly non-political lines and it is not intended that there should be liaison of any sort with any of the political parties.  It is, therefore, sincerely hoped that this principle will be accepted by all who are prepared to serve and make an endeavour to rectify the many deficiencies from which English Medium Education is suffering at the present moment.  The Authorities have repeatedly expressed their concern at the deteriorating position of English Medium Education and it must be appreciated that without the co-operation of all who value the English language and what that language means to our South African community as a whole, any attempt to  attach political significance to the proposed endeavour can only redound to its discredit and hamper the achievement of something that will be of great benefit to all, irrespective of race, creed or colour"

There are many teachers and tens of thousands of pupils who have benefited from the financial support and encouragement of SACEE over the last 60 years.  This organisation continues to work to improve and support the English language throughout the whole of South Africa and SACEE can be justly proud of its many successes and achievements.

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