Nine new entries in this year’s Schools Speech Contest

2009-08-20 00:00

THE competition is on!

Now that the official launch of the second annual Nelson Mandela Schools Speech Contest is over, entrants are currently preparing for a showdown that will determine who walks away with the first prize of R10 000 in each category.

This year’s competition has grown significantly from last year — leaping from 21 school entries to 30. At the official launch, which was held at The Witness offices early yesterday evening, various stakeholders gathered to speak about the contest, which incidentally coincided with Mandela’s final speech before his arrest in 1961.

Natal Witness general manager for marketing and advertising Dave Erasmus praised those who put the contest together, saying it has been a very exciting development.

Like last year, the contest is open to both English and Zulu speakers. The runners-up in each category stand to pocket R2 000 each and Rotary has also sponsored a sum of R5 000, which will be awarded to the most deserving speaker. The winning school will walk away with a floating trophy.

Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo joked that she had decided not to wear her chain to the event as it was too heavy and would wrinkle her clothes.

Hlatshwayo said the municipality was proud to be one of the official partners for the contest as it gave youngsters an opportunity to improve their writing and public speaking skills.

She said the fact that the contest also permitted entries in Zulu meant that it recognises that not all pupils are greatly proficient in the English language.

She said as a councillor, she has received many complaints about the poor articulation of some of the councillors whose first language was vernacular.

“It doesn’t mean that they’re not competent or able. They just didn’t have the opportunity to attend meetings growing up in the townships,” she said.

Hlathswayo said contests like this are important as they help youngsters gain the confidence they will need to be successful leaders in the future.

Speaking on behalf of the Education Department, Dr Simon Mbokazi said the department welcome the contest as it fits in with their objectives.

Contest initiator Brian Bassett said he was thrilled that more schools have decided to take part this year and he was hopeful that the contest will grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years.

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