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SOUTH Africa's political movers and shakers of the future are being nurtured through Education Africa's Model UN Debate Competition.
Sponsored by MTN, the debating competition is for pupils in Grades 11 and 12.
Sowetan's father of nation building and late editor-in-chief Aggrey Klaaste was Education Africa's inaugural chairman. This non-governmental youth and community development organisation is currently chaired by community and women's development activist and businesswoman Angie Makwetla.
Facilitated by Model UN South Africa (Munsa) the debating competition simulates the world body's General Assembly and Security Council to help school children to experience the dynamic world of diplomacy and negotiations.
Munsa also facilitates the Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards, which is part of the youth motivation activities of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.
To create an authentic feel of the General Assembly, each team is allocated a member state, country or nation to represent. The pupils must show that they are familiar with the political, economic, social and cultural policies of the countries they represent.
A series of workshops were held throughout South Africa last month to prepare the pupils for the provincial legs of the competition which are scheduled for August. This will be followed by an international conference on Robben Island in October, where a12-member team will be chosen to compete in the world debating competition in New York in April 2010.
This team has to match or surpass the group that won the Best Small Delegation award while representing South Africa and Germany in April.
The pupils who also won individual awards in the various UN committees are Tsholofelo Tema, Joyce Pooe, Tshegofatso Malope, Constance Gaanagomo, Meladi Manamela, Thandukwazi Buthelezi, Kudzai Nyaumbe, Maseabata Mde, Dexter Munnik, Nicholas Greig, Verusha Mudaly and Sarah Hewitson.