The annual African Schools Debating Championships (ASDC) is to be hosted by St John's College, Johannesburg, from 28 April to 3 May 2008. The tournament will bring together teams from 13 African countries, from as far a field as Uganda and Kenya, to compete for the title of African Champions. In addition, the tournament incorporates the South African Debating Invitational in which 17 of South Africa's top debating schools, both public and private, will compete for the ASDC Schools Cup.
The five finalists who will represent Botswana at the tournament are Bonolo Magowe and Antonette Ncube both of Ledumang Secondary School, Ruth Mulenga and Wedu Mokobi both from the Islamic Al Nur Schools and Bakang Phokoletso of Gaborone Secondary School. The National Schools Debating Team is coached by Justice Motlhabani who is assisted by Kevin Segadimo. Evans Chipambo of AL- Nur is the official Botswana Adjudicator.
The competition will see thought-provoking debates between the teams on topics such as the funding of political parties and whether education should be locally or nationally controlled. The tournament aims to develop participants’ debating skills, enhance critical thinking, independent research skills, communication skills and general leadership skills. The students will amongst other things participate in formal training workshops, competitive debating and interactive forums with leaders in business, civil society and government.
It will also feature many high-profile guest speakers such as Dr Blade Nzimande, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party. The speakers will discuss issues including African unity, the transformation of tertiary education institutions and the relationship between human rights and South Africa's foreign policy.
The intensive competition requires each country to take part in five preliminary debates over four days. The highest-rated teams go forward to knockout rounds, with the African champions ultimately named at a Grand Final. The Grand finals of the 2008 Championship will be held at the Pan African Parliament in Midrand. The inaugural African Schools Debating Championships was won by South Africa in May 2007.
More information on the tournament is available at: africa.debate.org.za.