International Debating

One of the SASDB’s three core focus areas is selecting and training a national schools debating team, which represents South Africa at international competitions. South Africa has participated in international debating tournaments regularly since 1998, when we sent a team to participate in the World Schools Debating Championships in Jerusalem, Israel.

Since then, we have gone from strength to strength. South Africa is recognised as one of the leading debating nations in the world. The highlights of our World Schools exploits include reaching the finals in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2004, and having a South African speaker place first in the individual rankings in Athens, Greece, in 2009. We are the reigning African champions, and South African teams have also won competitions in Europe in recent months.

The pages in this section will tell you more about South Africa’s involvement in international debating tournaments. South Africa is hosting the 2012 World Schools Debating Championships in January next year – more information about this tournament will be posted on the site shortly.

48 thoughts on “International Debating”

  1. we as an NGO witch debating and dialouge is 1 of most priority, we would love to knw and also get involved from now until the world champions that will be hosted by our beloved country…. And posibly work in beyond as wel would love ta knw more.

  2. Hi im vusi dirane from pretoria in a village called Kgabalatsane.Im a gread 10 leaner at Micha-Kgasi high school. We are resently in a debat thats aimed to improving ROAD SAFETY in South Africa. We have won the first round and I was voted as the best speaker for the day. We are naw heading to Rusteburg. I realy love debating and I would like to take it as a career one day. I realy want to be rocognised for what am willing to do. I want to join debating groups that can take me far. My dream is that one day I could be in the world championships. Please hear my request and may it be taken to consideration. FOR MORE EMAIL- MICHA-KGASI@GMAIL.COM. WEPSITE: MICHA-KGASI.WEEBLE.COM

    1. Hi Vusi. Congratulations on your success in the Road Safety debating competition, and good luck for the national tournament! There are many opportunities to use debating skills in a career, particularly in politics and law. Since you are located near Pretoria, your best chance of getting involved with a really good league is to contact the Pretoria University Debating Union, who organises a lot of high school debating in Pretoria. They work with the debating leagues that feed into the provincial and national championships. The Chairman of the Debating Union is Kyle Parkin, and his email address is kyleparkin1@gmail.com.

  3. Hey am onalerona mokono frm micha kgasi high school am doin grade 8 am concerned that why does the department of education not coming to our school cause we we have basic needs we dont have enough chairs and resources recently we were writing exams and there were complications our classrooms are small and the doors are broken it simse to me that the department is paying attention to the urban areas only what can we do

    1. Hi Onalerona. The SASDB isn’t linked to the government (we are an independent non-profit organisation), so unfortunately we can’t help you directly. You need to get in touch with the Department of Basic Education. You can call their hotline on 0800 202 933 or you can write on their Facebook page. I will also email you some individual contacts, if you would rather get in touch with someone specific. Look at your inbox in 5 minutes! –Irene

      1. Hy SASDB .im martin frm kroonstad,im already in a college and i was wondering if your organisation also operate in collages? We would really loves something of that sort to happen.im in flavius Mareka College..

        1. Hi Martin. Unfortunately we don’t operate in FET colleges, but you can still use all the resources on our website! If you go to the Downloads page, you will find several guides on how to debate, how to judge and so on. You can use these as a starting point for learning the rules of debate. You can also search on YouTube for debating videos – this will give you a good idea of what a debate and an argument are meant to look like. Also, contact the schools debating board in your province – they should be able to put you in contact with people and schools in your province that you can have practice debates against. Good luck! –Admin

  4. hi i came to live in the Free state this year i originally come from Sebokeng in Gauteng last year i was in the district team and went to the Road Safety tournament and we came out at the semi finals can you please organise for us that competition i was able to build a very good debating team here at my new school s.s.paki.s.s at Vredefort Near Parys and i am a grade 11 learner.
    Please assist us
    please contact us on 0719482976 or at this email address

    1. Hi Kedibone. I sent an email response to you with the contact details of the Free State Schools Debating Board chairman. You need to contact him to find out about debating events in your province. Have a look at your yahoo inbox and let me know if it’s not there! –Admin

  5. HI I am a grade nine student at Gibson Pillay LEARNING ACADEMEY. I HAVE DEBATED LAST YEAR FOR THE ROAD AND SAFETY DEBATE AND ENDED AT PROVI. LEVEL SO I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW DOES ONE TAKE PART IN THE WORLD DEBATE TOURNAMENT.PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL

    1. Hi Themba. I tried to email you, but the message bounced back. Here’s your answer:

      To compete at the World Schools Debating Championships, you need to first qualify for your provincial debating team, and then do well enough at the National Schools Debating Championships to be selected for the SA team trials squad. The first step in this process is to start debating in your provincial league, so that you will be eligible for the provincial teams. What province are you based in? You can find the contact details for the debating leagues in most provinces under the “Provinces” pages on the SASDB website. Try to get in touch with the relevant people, and let me know if you have any problems.

      Good luck, and happy debating!

  6. Hello, my name is Isheunopa from Midlands Christian College in Zimbabawe, i am in the senior debate team for our school and our debate team has been quite prominent in 2011. We managed to be crowned provincial Champions in ‘Nugget schools debate competions’. we also come first in Environment awareness debate in the district. lately our principal has been showing intrest in taking us for a debating tour to South Africa where we can debate any schools willing, i wanted to know if you can kindly help me in this ? or is it possible to join any South african school competition? looking forward to your reply, thank you.

  7. Hi,i was recently chosen for the provincial team coming to the free state. i will be representing Limpopo in the senior team.i am so happy i was given this opportunity

  8. Hi i am kenneth and i’m from limpopo ,I would like to know how can i be more involved in coming debate competitions and if is the any competitions wich matriculent can participitate in?

    1. Hi Kenneth. If you’re still in school, you can speak in the competitions. If you’ve already matriculated, you can get involved as a coach or a judge, or you can speak and compete through the University of Limpopo debating union. You can find the contact details for Tlou Mashitisho, the provincial co-ordinator, on the Limpopo page here. Good luck! –Admin

  9. HI ,im Tshepang L Mahlatsi from Barnard Molokoane in Parys Tumahole ,i realy want to join the free state debating team i want to join i want to know what is needed to join,i am regarded as the 2nd best speaker in our school i really need help *I Love debate more than anything*

    1. Hi Tshepang!

      In order to join the Free State Debating Team you would need to attend their provincial debating championships and qualify for their trials. Nationals has already happened this year, so the provincial debating championships will only happen again next year, but if you are interested in attending then that is fantastic and the Free State Debating board will be able to help you. Their email address is: freestatedebating@gmail.com. Please would you email them, or if you can’t get a hold of them, send an email to me at: tvonzahn.sasdb@gmail.com and I will do what I can to make sure that you can get involved :)- Tristan von Zahn (Operations Officer)

  10. hi my name is mpho ndaba,i live in rammolutsi viljoenskroon in the free state province,i am a grade 11 learner and last year i attended a provincial workshop by model united nations in partnership with mtn and after the workshop we were suppose to compete at the provincial level wich did not take place and i wish to know if its possible for you to find out what happened and i also want to know if there will be any compertitions taking place in free state towns like viljoenskroon

    1. Hey Mpho,
      Unfortunately, we are not involved in Model United Nations Debating within South Africa. It is run by SAMUN (http://www.samun.org/) and I would recommend getting in touch with them with regards to your query about the provincial tournaments.
      If you would like to find out about the World Schools Style tournaments that we run in the Free State, you should contact the Free State Debating Board (freestatedebating@gmail.com). They are in charge of organizing debating within the province and they will be able to tell you guys about tournaments in your area and provide you with assistance in setting up debates with other schools.
      I hope that this is helpful and I wish you and your school all the best for the year!- :) Tristan von Zahn (Operations Officer)

  11. the schools that were taken to that workshop are kgolagano secondary school and thabang secondary school comment by mpho ndaba

  12. Greetings, I’m Sihle Nkosi from Vryheid Comprehensive Secondary School in Vryheid. I’d like to participate in more debating competitons in KZN, please let me know of any debating competitions circulating KZN, or even South Africa at large.
    Thank you.

    1. Hey Sihle,
      If you would like to get information about tournaments in KZN, then I suggest you contact the KZN Schools Debating Board. Their current chairperson is Mariska van Wyk (muisvanwyk@yahoo.co.uk) and she will be able to give you all the information you need. – :) Tristan von Zahn (Operations Officer)

  13. HI THERE MY NAME IS THANDI FROM THE FREE STATE, I LIVE IN A TOWN CALLED LADYBRAND, IN A SCHOOL CALLED SEHLABENG HIGH, I AM INVOLVED IN DEBATING AT SCHOOL, I AM GIVEN TWO TOPICS BY THE SCHOOL. THE TOPICS ARE- “CRIME VS THE BORNFREE GENERATION” AN D THE OTHER ONE IS “CRIME, THE SOCIETAL FIBRE HAS DECAYED” WOULD YOU PLEASE TELL ME WHICH SITE TO VISIT FOR MORE INFO ON THESE TOPICS OR IF POSSIBLE, GIVE MORE CLARIFICATION ON THE TOPICS. PLEASE REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS-thandimonaheng@yahoo.com. looking forward to hearing from you soon. ciao

  14. Hey im Mhlonishwa Khali and i’m a learner of Mlokothwa high school,in KwaZulu Natal kwa Nongoma,i love debating a lot bt da problem is that dez no debating club at school and i wish 2 be recognised of ma debating skill,what can i do?

    1. Dear Mhlonishwa,
      The KZN Schools Debating Board runs debating within the province and are in the best position to help you find debates to compete in. If you email Mariska van Wyk: muisvanwyk@yahoo.co.uk, she will be able to provide you with assistance.- Tristan von Zahn (Operations Officer)

  15. Hi I’m in KZN, Durban currently in matric and I’d like to know if there are any debate competitions to happen in this area

    1. Dear Elihle,
      The KZN Schools Debating Board runs debating within the province and are in the best position to help you find competitions in your area. If you email Mariska van Wyk: muisvanwyk@yahoo.co.uk, she will be able to provide you with assistance.- Tristan von Zahn (Operations Officer)

  16. hy i am agnes an i am frm limpopo at flora park comprehensive high school we hve a debate team at our school so i wanted to knw hw to join the roud traffic debate plz help

  17. hi, am archibold from Tshivhase seconday in LIMPOPO,am part of the road safety debate team in our school and i would like to know when are they going to star in our area.please reply soon

  18. hi am a university student,used to debate in high school.Since we finished matric my location hasn`t been involved in any tournaments.wil like to know about Gauteng tournaments so I can help the schools in my location enter the tournaments.By hard work and luck you may see them at the nationals next year

  19. hi am a university student,used to debate in high school.Since we finished matric my location hasn`t been involved in any tournaments.wil like to know about Gauteng tournaments so I can help the schools in my location enter the tournaments.By hard work and luck you may see them at the nationals next year!

  20. hi! I am a high school debater who has seen emense success in various debates and I would love to be part of the south african debate team but the information doesnt reach us on team here in Mpumalanga. I am currently in grade 11 and would like to know whether there is any possibiltity that I can participate next year and and can I also ask about the individual debating and public speaking competitions, how can I participate in that? How can I get in touch with the one whose responsible for debate in Mpumalanga? Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Lungile
      Selections for the trial list for the team that represents South Africa at the World tournament is made at the National Schools Debating Championships (NSDC). You can contact the Mpumalanga head, Mpho Serake (mphoserake@yahoo.com) with queries about the NSDC and teams that attend this competition.
      Hope this helps! – Sam Dunne (Operations Officer)

    1. Hi Athenkosi,

      If you mail the Eastern Cape Schools Debating Board’s chair, Ronwyn Pierce (ronshadow@hotmail.com), he will be able to give you more information about debating in the EC!

      Yours,
      Devi (Vice President)

    1. Hi Sizwe,

      I’m afraid we don’t organize the road safety competition, so we don’t have either of those things. Good luck finding them!

      Yours,
      Devi

    1. Hi Sizwe,

      I’m afraid we don’t organize the road safety competition, so we don’t have either of those things. Good luck finding them!

      Yours,
      Devi

  21. Good day,my name is Florrie Hector from a small village named Ga-Mogopa in Ventersdorp,and I am an SGB at our school,I just want know is there any way that for our school children enter the national debate of road safety representing their school,I would like to see that South Africa give these children living in areas like farms or villages a chance to show what they made off.

    There are children in rural areas like ours that are really talented,but they are often not given a chance.

    1. Hi Florrie,

      Unfortunately the SASDB does not organise the road safety competition, so I have no information for you. If you are interested in other forms of debating, you should try contacting Michelle Groenewald (nwudebate@gmail.com) for more information on debating in the North West.

      I hope this has helped!

      Yours,
      Devi

  22. Hi I’m vuyi from a town called Bronkhorstspruit next to Pretoria.I’m not involved in any debate team because we don’t have one so I was askin is it possible I enter the debate contest and if so how can i

  23. Hy Admin
    i would like to endorse a query that is polokwane havin other debate competitions beside PDL, PDS n road safety??

    Im Mahaule Rebecca Team FCHS

  24. greating to u beutiful flowers of the floor my name is sakhile maziya a grade 10 learner @ mgubho c school[mpumalanga] i have enterd road safety debate in 2013 and got a chance in 2014 i have been selected for circuit level.

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