The AKF launches the 2023 Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Annual National Essay Writing Competition Against Racism

04 July 2023

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation is thrilled to announce the launch of the 2023 Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Annual National Essay Writing Competition Against Racism. This prestigious competition aims to foster critical thinking, promote awareness, and ignite discussions around the pressing issue of racism in our society amongst the youth of South Africa.

In its 7th year, the competition offers young people between the ages of 13-21 with the profound belief that education is a powerful tool for social change. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation invites students from all corners of the nation to participate in this impactful competition. This competition provides a platform for young minds to express their thoughts, challenge stereotypes, and contribute to the ongoing fight against racism. The competition opened on Friday, 30 June 2023.

The competition will welcome a wide range of submissions where we hope to inspire young people to speak out and help address the persistent issue of racism. If we are to make a difference and build a better world, we need to acknowledge and include the important voices of young people who clearly are affected by racism at schools, playgrounds, universities, or even at home. As South Africans, we continue to witness persistent incidences of racial discrimination at institutions of learning all over South Africa. As seen most recently at Westerford High, it is clear that the social ill of racism continues to persist and affect all levels of society.

Nearly three decades into South Africa’s democracy, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, sexism and related intolerances continue to threaten the livelihood of all in South Africa and across the world. This competition provides a platform for young people to begin grappling with the issues and hopefully the solutions, in their own words. This year, we encourage participants to delve into the significance of inclusivity and the power of unity. We urge contestants to explore how we can overcome racial divisions, celebrate our differences, and create a harmonious society that values diversity in all its forms.

Entries can be made in the form of an essay, poetry or original form of artwork. To participate in the competition participants must use an entry form which can be found on the AKF’s website.

Prizes will be awarded per category:

1st Place – R1000 and a new laptop

2nd Place – R500 and a new laptop

Please note that all participants will receive certificates of participation. In addition to the prizes, winning entries will be featured on the foundation’s website, social media platforms, and included in our publications, ensuring that the exceptional work of these young writers reaches a wider audience.

The submissions will need to relate to any of the following topics:

  • Are racial classifications still relevant in a free and democratic South Africa?
  • What does a racially just South Africa mean to me?
  • The impact of Apartheid on a Born-free generation
  • Nobody is born a racist… so where does it come from?

To take part in the competition against racism, applicants should send their entries to the email address Entries can also be hand-delivered to the Foundation’s offices at Signet Terrace Office Park, Block B, Suite 2, Guinea Fowl, Extension 1, Lenasia, Johannesburg. The closing date for the competition is Thursday, 31 August 2023.

The following rules and guidelines are applicable to the 2023 National Essay Writing Competition Against Racism:

  • Participants must be between the age of 13-21.
  • All entries must be accompanied by an entry form stating all details required of the participant.
  • One entry per participant. Joint or multiple entries will not be considered.
  • All entries will only be received via email (, or physical copy delivered to the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation offices (Signet Terrace Office Park, Block B, Suite 2, 19 Guinea-Fowl Street, Lenasia, 1827)
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
  • Plagiarized content will be disqualified.
  • Essays submitted must be between 1000 -1500 words.
  • Poetry and artwork must be accompanied by an explanation of no more than 500 words.
  • Artwork entries must not be bigger than A3 in size.
  • Competition winners from the past two years are not permitted to enter the competition.
  • The competition is only open to participants residing in the Republic of South Africa.

NOTE: Non-compliance with these rules and guidelines will lead to the automatic disqualification of a participant

For inquiries, please contact:
Rethabile Ratsomo
Anti-Racism Programme Manager
011 854 0082





General enquiries:
Tel: +27 (0)11 854 0082
Fax: +27 (0)11 852 8786

Media enquiries:
Tel: +27 (0)78 547 4981

Youth enquiries:


Signet Terrace Office Park,
Block B, Suite 2
19 Guinea-Fowl Street
Lenasia, Gauteng, 1827
South Africa

P.O. Box 10621
Lenasia, Gauteng, 1820
South Africa


In pursuing its core objective
of deepening non-racialism,
the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

Promote the values, rights
and principles enshrined in the
Freedom Charter and the
Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa;

Collect, record, promote and
display, through historical
artefacts and contemporary


Contact Us