Debating in KwaZulu-Natal is run by the KwaZulu-Natal Schools Debating Association (KZNSDA). Schools participate in one of five leagues: Durban Coastal Debating League (DCDL), Midlands, Phoenix, Pietermaritzburg and South Coast. As well as competing in these leagues, schools and speakers also participate in inter-league tournaments during the year. The top speakers from the regional leagues progress to the provincial championships.


Northern Cape

The Northern Cape used to be a regular participant at the National Schools Debating Championships, hosting NSDC in Kimberley in 2006. Since then, there has been no official word of organised debating taking place in the province.

Appeal for Information

If you know of other debating initiatives in the Northern Cape, or are interested in starting a league or running training programmes, please let us know! (See the Contact Us page for details.) We may be able to help you with training material or trainers, but even if you don’t need this please let us know: we would appreciate the opportunity to get a complete picture of the debating that is happening in schools in South Africa, and to get these initiatives to feed into the National Schools Debating Championships.

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape Debating Board have made tremendous strides in their development programmes, as well as producing competitive speakers, since 2014. The province has shown a great improvement at the National Debating Championships, with speakers from the Eastern Cape delegation qualifying for the National Team trials and for the National Academy Program.

There are various leagues taking place in the Eastern Cape:

  1. Lukhanji League

–          The league is being coordinated Pakamani Ndwandwa

–          These are schools from around the municipal region of Lukhanji, which has schools from about five towns.

–          The league fixtures run concurrently for both juniors and seniors. This takes place between first and second term.

–          There are 12 schools enrolled in the league.

–          Our CA Louise Charsika runs the adjudication workshop and a development day for speakers.

–          Derby Fridays and debating days are often on weekends, in the first 3 terms.


  1. Border League

–          The league is being coordinated by Ms. Ronwyn Pearce of Merrifield College

–          This is currently the biggest league in the province

–          The schools in border league are East London and King Williams Town based schools.

–          During the first term there are speaker and adjudication workshops hosted by Ronwyn Pearce

–          First term is league debates for the seniors and they take place on a Wednesday at various schools.

–          Second term is league debates for juniors and they also take place on Wednesdays.

–          Fridays are used for friendlies and derby days by some schools.


  1. Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage League

–          The league is being coordinated Liziel Hemelman from Theodore Herzl

–          PE runs jointly with Uitenhage. This is still in its infant phase as structures are being developed.

–          They normally run a debating festival in late January, early February at Alexander High School. This is often attended by schools around the province and is great exposure for start up debaters and for matrics who are signing off on their high school debating careers.

–          This year they are trying to fuse the academy and open sections in order to have a good break for the Provincial tournament.


  1. Mthatha League

–          The league is being coordinated by Ms. Bongiwe Sokutu from Holy Cross Christian School.

–          This league has often provided the bulk the academy speakers for both junior and senior divisions.

–          It is also still in its developmental phase as it doesn’t have more than 5 schools in their league.

–          Largest problem is funding to take speakers to the Provincial tournament.


  1. Grahamstown/Port Alfred League

–          The league is being coordinated by Khulile Mjo, from Rhodes University.

–          The league is run on Fridays and adjudicated by Rhodes University students.

–          The league recently started its project to incorporate academy schools in their region.


The province plans to implement the New Areas Development Plan and engage other regions with the aim of starting up leagues and inviting them to the Provincial tournament.

The Eastern Cape Schools Debating Board Chairperson:

Pakamani Ndwandwa

Free State

Free State debating runs two separate leagues in conjunction with the South African Council for English Education (SACEE). There is a Bloemfontein league, which runs throughout the year and each event is hosted by a different school. There is also a Goldfield league which caters for the Welkom district.

Both these leagues serve the Free State Schools Debating Board as a point of departure when selecting teams to take to the SASDB National Schools Debating Championships.

Each year in the September holidays we also run a provincial tournament, where 6 teams are selected to represent Free State at the SASDB Nationals. This year we’ll be hosting it with the aim to further our ambitions of spreading debating and developing the youth in under-resourced schools.

The teams selected for nationals undergo exceptional training leading towards the tournament and learn even more from the tournament itself. We then compel them to go back to their schools and teach their fellow debaters what they’ve learned. It is a constant systematic ideal of learning.