Youth talk about a better, fairer world

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

More than 40 high school pupils from South Africa, Kenya and the UK will participate in the yearly Model United Nations General Assembly Competition for South African High Schools in Cape Town this weekend.

Participants will compete in the Cape Town Metropolitan Council Chambers today and tomorrow.

On Sunday, they will relax around the city's famous tourist attractions, which will include Table Mountain and Robben Island.

The winners will be announced on Robben Island on Monday.

The debating competition was first held in 1995 as part of the United Nation's 50th anniversary celebrations.

It is based on the principles and format of the world body's General Assembly debates, focusing on international relations and human rights issues.

The organisers, Education Africa, started running the competitions on behalf of the national Education Department in 1998. Sowetan's late editor-in-chief Dr Aggrey Klaaste was Education Africa's founding chairman until his death in June 2004. Businesswoman Angie Makwetla is Education Africa's current chairman

Other crucial players in this youth development project are the United Nations Information Centre in Pretoria, Robben Island Museum and various local public and private as well as international schools in mainland Africa and overseas.

The concept, structure and format of these debating conferences seek to instil in participating pupils and youthful audiences principles that include democracy, social justice, equity, non-racism and non-sexism, ubuntu and a nation-building spirit, open society, accountability, rule of law, respect and reconciliation.