One is the lucky number for Wits debating team

Gauteng open debating winners, Ntsikelelo Barnabas (left) and Siyanda Baduza want to be the next African debating champions.

A Wits First-year duo competing in their first tournament as partners won the Gauteng open debating tournament which took place in Pretoria on Sunday, September 3.

Siyanda Baduza, who is studying electrical engineering, and Ntsikelelo Barnabas, a BA student, were the only first year team who participated in the interprovincial Gauteng Open debating tournament.

Barnabas said that he is excited because this was the first tournament that the pair havewon as university speakers.

The duo are originally from the Eastern Cape and Barnabas explained that debating in the province is not prestigious. “We wanted to break the glass ceiling so that people change the perception where debaters from other provinces are looked down upon,” he said.

Barnabas said that debating against people with a good reputation and experience in debating is not easy when you’re unknown as it can affect yourself-esteem and “jeopardise your performance”.

Baduza said that winning the Gauteng Open helped the duo establish a name for themselves and has encouraged them to work harder. Barnabas  said “when you win once, you want to maintain that winning spree”.

Though it is good to win, Baduza explained, “you need to learn how to take a loss and recover from it quickly because you lose and have to speak against someone 10 minutes later.”

Barnabas added that it means that you can’t let previous debating achievements go to your head.

Wits Debating Union chairperson Donavan Masawi said that he is pleased with the performance of the duo. He also added that “the hunger of first years is inspiring to the union as a whole” and brings certainty that the future of the union is in good hands.

The two are working towards taking part in continental and even international tournaments. Baduza said that winning the Gauteng Open was the first step to making that possible.


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One step closer to One Day Leader


Seadimo Tlale, One Day Leader number 2, dominating at debating.  Photo: Facebook

Seadimo Tlale, One Day Leader number 2, dominating at debating.
Photo: Facebook

Seadimo Tlale is the last Witsie standing in SABC’s One Day Leader contest.

The show that aims to find future leaders of the country will soon be coming to an end. With only 3 contestants left, the pressure is on for Tlale to represent Wits, as well as being the last female in the competition.

When asked what got her this far in the competition, Tlale said: “People like the way I reason and stand by what I believe in regardless of what anybody says.”

Known for her skills in debating, Tlale can proudly say that she has won the most debates this season, despite the fact that she is the youngest contestant to ever make it this far.

“The quality that made me stand out the most was that people were amazed about how age is not a factor for me. I go out and achieve what I set to do,” said Tlale.

The finale airs on Mothers Day, Sunday May 12, where the decision will be made on who will be South Africa’s One Day Leader 2013.

With faith and assurance, Tlale is ready to go all the way. She said: “I have overcome great obstacles by challenging very strong opponents with confidence.”

To support your fellow Witsie SMS “Leader 2” to 34068.

Wits debater heads to Oxford

First published by WiSER:

Last week Masters Student and Fellow at WiSER, Simphiwe Ngwane, represented Wits University in a mock African Union (AU) debate and public speaking contest, organized by the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), simulating the Peace and Security Council.

Simphiwe Ngwane Pic: Wiser.

Simphiwe Ngwane Pic: Wiser.

Simphiwe represented Libya and prepared a seven minute oral presentation around the theme, ‘African Inter-regional Cooperation for Energy Security in Response to Climate Change’ and articulate our country’s policies and definition of a ‘Green Economy’. At the gala dinner following the event the best debate award went to Ms. Marvellous Ndhlovu from the University of Venda (representing Kenya), and Simphiwe was awarded second place.

Simphiwe, Ms Ndhlovu and 2 other students in the top 4, Ms. Itumeleng Mukhovha and Ms. Naledi Modise, were each awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Scholarship to participate in a capacity building programme at Oxford University in July 2013.

The Wits Research Office, the DVC of Research and the Director of the Graduate Support Division have all contrbuted funds towards Simphiwe’s travel expenses to Oxford University so he can take up the grant and represent Wits.