Millicent leads Gauteng's top young public speakers
THE 15 top young public speakers in Gauteng gathered in Johannesburg on Saturday to compete for a position in the 19th edition of the Sowetan and Anglo American Young Communicators Awards national finals, which will take place in Johannesburg in July.
After a brilliant and eye-opening effort by these future leaders, Martin Hattingh of Kempton Park Hoërskool, Bonginkosi Peter of Penolepele Secondary School and Millicent Katsane of Riverside High School were named Gauteng's top public speakers.
Overall winner Katsane, 17, will represent her province in the finals.
Sowetan, together with Anglo American and the Department of Education, initiated the project under the leadership of the newspaper's late former editor-in-chief Aggrey Klaaste to improve communication skills, leadership development, personal growth and oral English communication among second or third-language speakers.
The competition is open to registered grade 11 and 12 pupils from recognised South African high schools who do not speak English as a first language.
Each contestant is required to present a prepared speech on a topic of their choice in front of a panel of adjudicators and an audience of fellow pupils, parents, guests and teachers.
Certain factors are considered to determine a good speech, such as: introduction, conclusion, originality, audience participation, language, grammar and pronunciation.
The pupils have only five minutes to speak. All contestants receive participation certificates and educational gift vouchers. The top three winners receive cash prizes of R1000, R800 and R500 respectively.
Grade 11 pupil Katsane delivered a hilarious and insightful speech called Life begins at 40. With most adults puzzled by how a teenager would know anything about such a topic, Katsane bravely proved her understanding by referring to her mother's 40th birthday celebration and leaving the audience's spirits lifted.
Still being embraced and bombarded with congratulations, Katsane said she had been worried about being disqualified.
"I thought I would be disqualified because of time, but I kept believing," she said.
Katsane said she thanked her school, family and God.
"Right now I need to pray and give thanks," she said.
'There were a lot of people who supported me and helped me get here."
Katsane's debate coordinator and teacher Seithathi Mathebula said: I'm very proud of her. She began preparations a year ago and it shows."
Mathebula said a pupil from the same school came out tops in last year's competition.
Katsane is also president of the Ekurhuleni junior city council.