Western Cape

There are four debating leagues in the Western Cape: Rotary League, Township Debating League, Boland Schools Debating League, and Winelands Debating League. The top teams from each league proceed to the provincial championships, where triallists are selected for the Western Cape provincial teams.

Rotary Debating League

Rotary is by far the largest league in the Western Cape. It services Cape Town schools and is run by the Rotary Club and the UCT Debating Union. It has about 40 member schools which compete in a junior and senior competition. Debates are held weekly, on a Monday evening (a given school will speak once every three weeks). The league breaks to quarters in August.

Township Debating League

The Township Debating League (TDL) is a league run by UCT students through Ubunye, a campus-based development agency. TDL was established in 2004 in an attempt to address the huge disparity between schools which could afford to hire coaches and participate in the Rotary League, and those which could not. TDL is operating in 22 schools across townships surrounding Cape Town, including Philippi, Khayelitsha, Strandfontein, Langa and Ottery, and reaches over 300 learners. Essentially, TDL aims to develop critical thinking, argumentation, and general public speaking skills through the medium of debate. In recent years, the programme has recognised a deficiency in the English ability of its learners. English is the second, and sometimes third languages for all the learners that participate in TDL, and even though they all attends schools which teach in English, many of them battle with vocabulary and grammatical mistakes. As a result, in 2010, TDL introduced a functional English element as part of the programme, trying to help the learners to improve their English. TDL goes into each school in the programme once a week throughout the school year. Each school is assigned one or two coaches (depending on class size) who run through the programme content as well as any extra material that is provided, such as the functional English course and bi-weekly content packs detailing hot topics in current affairs. TDL organises two tournaments and several training days which are spread out throughout the year and take place over the weekends.

Boland Schools Debating League

The Boland Schools Debating League is run by the University of Stellenbosch Debating Society. The league consists of 10 member schools from areas in and around Stellenbosch who are each allowed to enter a maximum of 2 teams in the junior category and 2 teams in the senior category. As a result, each Monday evening from 18h00 until 20h30 at the Arts Building there are roughly 40 teams that debate each other. After 6 -8 rounds of debating, the tournament breaks to quarters, semis and then finals.

Winelands Debating League

The Winelands Debating League (WDL) is a high school development debating league, modeled on the Township Debating League but operating in the greater Stellenbosch area. There are four participating schools: Kayamandi, Makupula, Luckhoff and Cloetesville High School, all of whom are English second language schools and all of whom are being introduced to World Schools Style Debating for the first time through this project. WDL has weekly coaching sessions at each of the schools as well as training days and tournaments that take place over weekends on Stellenbosch University campus. All this is coordinated by student volunteers from the university. The league operates in partnership with Maties Community Service, a registered non-profit organisation.

Provincial Championships

The debating season in the Western Cape culminates in the provincial championships, which incorporates teams from all of the provincial leagues. The top teams from each league are invited to attend provincials, with the number of teams that each league is allowed to send being proportional to its size. In recent years the championships have grown in size, with over 50 teams now participating.


To contact the Western Cape Schools Debating Board, please email:

    Chairperson of the WCSDB: Dewald Visser: <deputychairperson.wcsdb@gmail.com>

Rotary: Thomas von Zahn <thomas.a.von.zahn@gmail.com>

TDL: Alli Appelbaum <alli.appelbaum@townshipdebating.org.za>

WCSDB secretary: Yashodhan Nair <NRXYAS001@myuct.ac.za>

The website of the WCSDB can be found at http://wcsdb.org.za/.