Common cause: the RCS prize then and now

13th February 2004 at 00:00
1948: Robert Rufus Baniwell, Tasmania, Winner in 16-18 category

I feel sure that upon questioning the average Australian as to the existence of an Australian literature he would be somewhat taken aback and humbly admit that he'd "never been asked such an awkward question" or else openly reveal that he didn't know there was such a thing.

1950: Peter R Phillips, Montego Bay, Jamaica. Winner in 16-18 category The parasitic tentacles of communism which were slowly creeping across Asia had fed and fattened from the fruits of newly converted China. A crisis had been reached, which on breaking would not only engulf all the Asiatic countries, but also play a great part in the destiny of the entire world.

Judges commented: "Inclined to be hysterical but he understands the fundamental issues".

1958: Katherine Beckett, 12, Le Bon Sauveur School, Holyhead, Anglesey.

Commended in the Illustrated Work category for under-14s

I was awfully thrilled yesterday: the Queen Mother paid a short visit to Nairobi. It was the first time I had seen a member of the Royal Family. And as she passed our front door I found myself hoarse with cheering. But not all of the people cheered. Some of the natives I noticed remained silent.

1959: David L Irving, Birkenhead School, Merseyside. Commended in 16-18 category

South Africa's problems are unique and unenviable, and I think that any other people in the same position as the South Africans would find it difficult to act otherwise where racial discrimination is concerned. The Notting Hill incidents in London seem to bear this out.

1960: Ian Wrightson, 11, Lady Lumley's School, Pickering, Yorkshire.

Commended in under-14s category

If I was going to live in another country belonging to the British Commonwealth I would choose Canada, because it is an all-white country.

2003: Jacquelin Kataneksza, Arundel School, Harare, Zimbabwe. Winner in 16-18 category

I come from an inter-racial background, having a white father and black mother, and have therefore been exposed to the problems experienced by both sides. I also have friends both black and white, who often cry themselves to sleep, afraid by the dark cloud of uncertainty looming over their lives.

I myself have been a target of many harsh words from both camps, leaving me at times lonely and unsure as to where I fit in, in the scope of things, wondering if perhaps our current temporary situation in Zimbabwe is really going to be our future permanent one.

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