The National Academy Programme

At the 2011 National Schools Debating Championships, 12 of the most promising learners from ‘development’ (or poorly-resourced) schools were selected to take part in the 2012 Academy, an annual project of the SASDB that is designed to provide the best development speakers with the coaching they so seldom receive at their schools, and to narrow the gap between the best development speakers and the best speakers in the country. The Academy is a four-day training camp that will see these twelve learners exposed to some of the top coaching expertise in South Africa.

Speakers selected for the Academy


  1. Peaceful Gumede (Free State)
  2. Bettina Baidoo (Gauteng)
  3. KG Motsileng (Gauteng)
  4. Marshall Mtombeni (Gauteng)
  5. Leah Andrew (KZN)
  6. Londiwe Mntambo (KZN)
  7. Claudelle Pretorius (KZN)
  8. Aria Ramothar (KZN)
  9. Bongani Shabangu (Mpumalanga)
  10. Noluthando Honono (Western Cape)
  11. Ambesa Mlindi (Western Cape)
  12. Saloshnee Naidoo (Western Cape)

26 thoughts on “The National Academy Programme”

  1. To whom it may concern,

    How are children from poorly resourced schools selected for the Academy?


    Lindiwe Ngwenya

    1. Hi Lindiwe

      Each province is responsible for including poorly resourced schools in their local debating programmes. The SASDB requires that at least 50% of the learners on the provincial debating teams that compete at the national championships come from poorly resourced schools. The 12 most promising of these learners (in Grade 11 or younger) are selected at Nationals to attend the Academy in the following year.

      Irene Pampallis (Operations Officer)

    1. Hi Jordach

      Yes – it will be happening in the June/July holidays, most likely in the last week of June (shortly after KZN provincials). We should be in touch with you all on Monday to confirm details.


    1. Hey Goodman. It’s happening in Durban. I’ve updated the venue and date details above. Matthew, the Academy Coach, will be in touch with you soon.

  2. Can’t wait for the academy but then guys please make sure that it happens. Because its the second time that I’m selected and last year it did not happen as well.

    Yours in point of information!

    1. Hi Ntokozo. Academy is DEFINITELY happening this year. You’re right, it hasn’t happened in too long and it’s one of our priorities. Matthew, the Academy coach, will be in touch with you as soon as he’s confirmed accommodation details – but in the meantime keep aside the dates above. Academy will be then, in Durban. Definitely. :)

  3. hi i would love to know how do or small NGO,S can be a part of this exciting internvantion…. Im 21 and a curent chairperson of a very growing NGO that deals with debate and dialouge, education, colective responsibility i would love to knw how we can learn a lot from you… And posibly work 2geda smtme.

  4. Im amediocre speaker and woul like to come to the academy and enhance my skills. Im willing to pat all expenses.
    how do I apply to come to the academy?

    1. Hi there. You can’t apply to attend the Academy – it’s by invitation only. The 12 most promising speakers are selected at Nationals every year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t seek out high quality coaching in your home province. Perhaps if you tell me where you’re from I can suggest some people to contact? –Admin

    1. Oh, OK – so you’re no longer a high school student. That changes things somewhat. The Academy coach may be willing to allow you to attend the Academy as an observer. Email him and ask, if you wish to do this (you can find his contact details on the Contact Us page). I would also suggest that you contact the debating unions at UJ and particularly at Wits (and next year at Rhodes) to expose yourself to some experienced speakers and to learn from them. You can also get in touch with the provincial schools coaching team from 2010, and see if they could work with you in any way.

  5. Hi im from kimberley floors high an under privellige school iv been debating since grade 5 im nw in gr11 and hv presentd the northern cape 4 times. I did model united nations debate(MUNSA) thrice n a road safety debate at the moment im seeking for a academy that can develop my skills further i would just like to knw is there any competitions you can suggest or training

    1. Hi there.

      At the moment, the SASDB does not organise any training academies other than the official National Debating Academy, due to logistical constraints. Usually the best way to get training and practice is to find someone like a student or teacher who has coached provincial teams before and ask if they would run a weekend or afternoon workshop with debaters from your school. If you can’t find such a person, then your best bet is probably to organise some practice debates against other schools in your area, or against other teams from your own school – practice helps a lot!

      Also, if you can watch any online debating videos, that can be very helpful because it will show you how really good debaters do things, and you can learn by copying them. There are some available on our “Links” page. Finally, try to download some debating classes and workshops – you can find some podcast/audio files for download at Debate Central, of debating workshops by some of the top coaches in the world. I think this would probably be very helpful to listen to!

      Good luck!

      1. To whom it may concern
        i truly have a passion for debating its the only place i feel like im alive. I go into this zone its like my happy place, its the one thing i know im good at. I so badly want to do more im slowly losing hope i really want to do more at school i have workshops 3 times a week for our upcoming junior debaters to just help them practise their speeches and feel confident. I feel so happy that i can help bt honestly i want to do more im dying for a challenge. To me debating has been my life its the one thing that has kept me happy it has been my comfort when i felt like im giving up this where i get my positive energy i have no idea who is going to read this but all i ask is that you if you have ever wanted to do something and you felt like no one is willing to give you a chance because right now thats how i feel please just call me if you have anything for me please i love what i do its not just another hobby im passionate about debating, public speaking anything that has to do with talking to people. Im asking for anything you have just please call me at 0724818703 or 0761667518

      2. Im doing grade 10 at Mlokothwa high(NONGOMA) i love public speaking and also debating…da only problem is dat there iz no debating club in my school…what can i do?plz help

    1. Hey Noluthando,
      Academy has not yet happened. We are trying to schedule it for June-July in the coming year, but you will be informed about it as soon as we have confirmed everything. Currently, we are busy trying to organize a pre-worlds tournament for the team that was selected at this year’s Academy and as soon as that is done we will turn our attention to next years one. Hope you are excited to go! :)- Tristan von Zahn (Operations Officer)

  6. To whom it may concern.can you please give me a thorough explanation of how a team registeres for these competition,even at basic regional level?

    1. Dear Lebohang,
      Registration at a local level is fascilitated by your respective provincial board. Their contact details can be found by using the provinces tab at the top of the website and scrolling to your province. You can contact your provincial chairperson and they will either provide you with information on how to register in a particular league, or forward you the details of the League’s convener who will then help you to register. From here, you are eligible to take part in your provincial tournament and be eligible for selection to represent your province at nationals. It is at nationals that the candidates for the Academy are selected. All the best! :)- Admin

  7. hi i am suppose to be attending academy this year. no one has contacted me about it and it is already the july holidays. s it already happened or what?

  8. Can you organize for us in Swaziland a training on Debating basics we will cater for the crew you send to us. Please send me feedback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *