Young communicators ready for debating final

THE battle lines have been drawn.

THE battle lines have been drawn.

No guns will be fired in anger. No knives will be thrust. Definitely no blood will be shed. This is a unique battle of wits, talent, research depth, analytical acumen and the ability to apply top-notch critique.

This battle is the premier youth motivation programme - the yearly Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards.

It is Anglo American's key corporate social investment and responsibility project. For Sowetan, it is a crucial youth development activity of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation. The nine provincial education departments play a key role, represented by senior officers, who serve as regional coordinators. Provincial education MECs are regional patrons and the education minister is the national patron.

Nine youths represent the best that South Africa has to offer in terms of public speaking excellence and the understanding, knowledge and articulation of social, political and economic issues.

They are Eastern Cape's Bonolo Cebe, Limpopo's Leandre Buys, Mpumalanga's Thandekile Maseko, Gauteng's Ndumiso Hadebe, North West's Tsholofelo Sebolao, Northern Cape's Shanice Titus, Free State's Alfesenzo Sethole, KwaZulu-Natal's Mnelisi Gasa and Western Cape's Reatlehile Jankie.

Confidence, assertiveness and determination best describe their high level of performances in the provincial heats.

Participants displayed admirable eloquence and courage as they tackled various social, economic, political and environmental issues.

The audiences received eye-opening insights into how deep the youths' concern is about crime, the economy, identity, race and values, freedom of speech, leadership and change, abuse and chiefly sexual abuse; women's role in society, the importance of education, the justice system and financial freedom.

These were highlighted in the prepared speech section. The newly introduced round-table or panel discussion section required contestants to assume the roles of politicians and debate crucial social, economic and or political issues.

The highlight emerged in Eastern Cape where MEC for education Mahlubandile Qwase attended. Contestants were asked to give him tips on how he could transform his department.

Qwase listened, took notes while applauding the "delegates", and when his turn came, he lauded the pupils' knowledge and take on current affairs, and assured them that hehad taken all their comments seriously. Things are set to be hotter in the finals at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg, Gauteng, tomorrow. We can only expect fireworks at the finals. Nurturing tomorrow's leaders is made easier when the youth themselves cooperate and collaborate with their mentors. What is most unique about youth participating in the awards is that they work together with their teachers, parents, guardians and the programme's academic development facilitators, the Model United Nations South Africa .

l Protea Hotels are the proud accommodation sponsors in the provinces.