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SOUTH Africa's future leaders are honing their skills to see who'll emerge tops in a national public speaking contest.
The contestants are part of the growing nation-building campaign to develop their research, analysis, criticism, debating and public speaking skills as part of the Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards provincial contests.
The first four of nine provincial heats will be held in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on May 8; Lebowakgomo, Limpopo, May 15; Mmabatho, North West, on May 22 and in Free State on May 29.
Contestants are required to present prepared speeches of their own choice. They will also participate in panel discussions or debate sessions, much like legislators, parliamentarians and corporate leaders in boardrooms.
Anglo American partners with Sowetan, the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation and the Department of Education in this nation-building initiative.
Significantly, Gauteng, Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and North West made available their legislatures as venues for the YCA's provincial contests. The Young Communicators Awards' youth development work over the years has sought to encourage:
l Proficiency in English and core principles of good speech-making, and presentation skills;
l A pioneering spirit among the youth;
lAn understanding and embracing of the concept of nation building;
l Addressing key issues facing our communities and country and to find meaningful solutions;
l Prepare the youth for professional working environments;
l To nurture their assertiveness and confidence.
Two workshops, conducted by university students attached to the youth public speaking education and training services provider, Model United Nations SA, will be held in Western Cape towns of Paarl on May 7 and in Worcester on May 8. At the workshops the candidates are shown the finer points of public speaking and how to research topics up to the speech presentation.
The provincial rounds run from July 8 to July 31. The national finals will be held in Johannesburg on August 20.