the sleepless night that inspired a speech

2009-09-22 00:00

MANDY Mhlongo’s inspiration for The Witness Nelson Mandela School Speech contest came to her while she tossed and turned on a sleepless summer night.

Mhlongo impressed judges and fellow contestants at the competition with her bold speech on Mandela Day and democracy

She told The Witness her love for public speaking is the motivation behind entering the competition.

Pupils from 30 Pietermaritzburg high schools competed in the speech contest at Maritzburg College. Each pupil had to deliver an eight-minute speech chosen from a list of seven topics. The majority of the contestants spoke on Mandela, democracy and Mandela Day.

The petite grade 11 pupil from Dunveria Secondary in Northdale said she wrote the speech on a night when she couldn’t fall asleep.

“I had a sad day at school. My inspiration to write that speech came to me at night, so I just got up, grabbed a pen and book and wrote my heart out,” she said.

She admits that she is the most talkative pupil in her class, a trait that makes public speaking a breeze.

“Even when I was little, I loved talking. Getting up there in front of all those people was easy for me,” she said.

Preparing for the speech took Mhlongo almost a week, and judging from the loud applause she received at the end of the speech, the hard work has paid off.

“I’m crossing my fingers. I could do with the prize money as I can hear the shopping mall calling my name.”

She said that her adoptive mother, Savy, is her strength and always encourages her.

“She is my everything and I hope to make her very proud. She is behind me all the way,” she said.

Organiser Brian Bassett said the speech contest is the biggest in the midlands area and has attracted many schools.

Six pupils will go through to the final round and the winner will be announced at the Tatham Art Gallery on October 9.

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