Buffalo City debaters reclaim top spot in national competition

The Eastern Cape has emerged as the winners of the third Safer SA Foundation’s annual national debating championship dubbed #Youth4SaferSouthAfricaDebate, held on September 9-10 in Boksburg.

The Eastern Cape team was made up entirely of Buffalo City pupils from Sinovuyo, Kusile and Mzokhanyo high schools. The pupils won R1,500 each, as well as an iPad and individual trophies from Safer SA and Sanlam.

The second spot went to Mpumalanga while the Western Cape took third place.

The pupils were required to present an argument unpacking the Brics Summit and proposing arguments for and against the Brics Recovery Plan.

All six members of the Eastern Cape team spoke without any cue cards and delivered their arguments succinctly enough to not only earn the win but high praise from Safer SA founder and CEO General Riah Pheyga, who described their performance as flawless.

This is the Eastern Cape’s second win at the competition having claimed first place in 2021 during the inaugural competition, led by pupils from John Bisseker Secondary, Greenpoint Secondary and Alphendale Senior Secondary schools.

Safer SA Eastern Cape programme facilitator Claudette van Zyl said she was proud of the pupils and humbled by what they had achieved. She said the pupils remained committed to working hard to prepare for the debate practicing until 9pm after school in the weeks leading up to the competition and rehearsing at 5am on the morning of the event.

The final team of six was selected from pupils across the city that are enrolled in the Safer SA programme, aimed at teaching pupils about the criminal justice system and involving the youth in crime prevention.

Van Zyl said: “The children exuded confidence and brought out the best in themselves.”

One pupil, Athi Mjamane said: “It was difficult because I am an introvert and prone to stage fright but in the end its amazing to know that I executed my speech well and helped to get my team to victory. God was with our team.

“I am thankful to all the sponsors for this opportunity. I am the first boy in my family to bring home a medal and trophy and this has made my parents very proud.

HISTORY MAKERS: The pupils with their coaches, Claudette van Zyl and Rene Morrison before the competition. Pictures: SUPPLIED


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