The WSDC Team competed in the Christ University Parliamentary Debate (CUPD) Tournament which followed the Asian Parliamentary Format over the weekend of the 19th of February.
Our very own team which comprised of Faye Crawford, Eugene Cloete and Joshua Hendricks made it to the Novice Final and unanimously won the Novice Final with Eugene ranking 9th Best Speaker at the Tournament!
A massive shout out to the SA Head Coaches and the rest of the speakers for this amazing achievement! We are extremely proud of you!
On reflection, 2020 was truly filled with a mix of life’s misfortune and the blessings that we often take for granted. One would have never thought that hosting a physical debating tournament would ever endanger the health of participants or that such a social gathering would be considered illegal. Nevertheless, the quiet determination of volunteers prevailed and debating events changed form to fit the current time we find ourselves in. The Youth Derby tournament, the Covid-19 Discussion Panel, the various international tournaments and our own national tournament are a few examples of the quiet determination of the debating community. Always a fitting reminder that courage doesn’t always roar.
The vision for 2020 is a simple one: to continue facilitating the events we initiated in 2020 and to maintain the good work that has been achieved. Where errors are committed, we will endeavour to right those wrongs as we build an inclusive and diverse community. We also hope to continue the work of bringing provinces such as the North-West and Mpumalanga into the community and helping them start-up the tournaments and leagues that we know bring speakers so much joy and development. I am truly proud of every speaker, adjudicator, and coordinator that made 2020 a year for the record books. I remain hopeful that the year ahead, with its expected ups and downs, will be a good one.
Due to the CoronaVirus Pandemic, the South African National Schools’ Debating Championship was held online. The Championship was held from the 15th-20th of December on the Discord Platform. Though the competition was not without its challenges and we all dearly missed the vigour of being able to meet in person, for the most part, it was an enjoyable and educational experience for all involved. There were many other firsts for the championships besides its online platform. The Free State Province took part in their first final narrowly losing out to a team from South Korea, making the South Korean team the first international team to win a National final. This year was also the first time we had two international teams competing in the finals. Kenya took part in the Senior plate-final losing out to a team from the Gauteng province. It was also the first time we had all of the top 10 junior speakers from one province, Gauteng. The eventual winners of the senior and junior championships were from the Gauteng province. Congratulations to all speakers who took part in the final. We were once again inspired by the level of intellect, compassion and talent participants displayed. It was a difficult challenge moving to an online platform, and our learners took this in great stride and made Nationals 2020 a phenomenal experience.
Without the hard work of our volunteers none of this would have been possible. Thank you to our Chief Adjudicators, Uheli, Shannon and Amaar for their invigorating motions which challenged us. Our Tab masters, Bradley and Lame, were essential to the success of this competition. Finally our immense gratitude to the organising committee, Lebo, Bettina and Rimbi for taking the vision of an online tournament forward.
The Social Justice Writing Competition is the result of a partnership between young people, the South African Schools Debating Board and the the Centre For Sexualities AIDS and Gender (CSA&G) at the University of Pretoria- through its Just Leaders student volunteer programme.
The competition is an essay writing competition and is open to all grade 8-11 learners in South Africa. The top entries are selected and published in a book through the CSA&G. The first leg of this competition was hosted in Gauteng.
Reflection on the 2019 Project
This whole project would not have been possible without the significant effort and contributions from the following people and organisations:
Bettina Buabeng-Baidoo and the SA Schools Debating Board (SASDB) initiated this project and ensured that it was successful – it would not have happened without her.
Pierre Brouard and his organisation, the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G) at the University of Pretoria, worked closely with Bettina to take this project through its various stages.
Bettina and Pierre also edited the stories and assisted the learners to polish them.
Tumelo “Duke” Rasebopye of the CSA&G took this project under the wing of the Just Leaders project he manages at the CSA&G and he assisted with developing and implementing the Social Justice workshop which the school learners attended as a requirement of entering the essay writing competition. The Just Leaders project is funded by the Norway-based Students and Academics International Assistance Fund (SAIH) and their generous financial assistance helped make this project possible.
Volunteers of the SASDB (Khutso Mhlaba, Ethienne Smith) and Board Members Tlou Matshidiso, Rimbilana Shingange, Irene Mpofu and Richard Chemaly) helped out on the day of the Social Justice workshop, especially with logistics; and volunteers from the CSA&G’s Just Leaders project (Boitumelo Nokeri, Chigo Mabila, Mohau Nei, Onkaetse Khupari) helped to organise and run the workshop, leading sessions with the learners, modelling advocacy and leadership.
Crawford College Pretoria generously hosted the workshop for the learners and Yvonne Ready offered support and oversight from Crawford’s perspective on that day, we thank them for this.
Last but not least, Johan Maritz designed, laid out and formatted the booklet and helped us to achieve an excellent product.
Last year the SASDB partnered with the Afrika Tikkun Organisation to facilitate a debate development project for their learners. Afrika Tikkun aims to develop and uplift young people in under-privileged communities in South Africa.
The debate project was attended by a team of 5 learners from 5 Afrika Tikkun Centres: Orange Farm, Alexandra, Braamfontein, Diepsloot and Mfuleni. The learners were trained by volunteers from the SASDB ahead of the competition. The SASDB also facilitated the semi-finals and finals of the competition.
This was a phenomenal opportunity for all involved. The learners left us in awe with the level of skill and dedication they displayed throughout the tournament. In the space of a few weeks, the teams were able to argue on complex motions and present their speeches in a world class manner. The overall winners of the tournament was Orange Farm.