Wynberg Girls’ Public Speaking Society hosts Forum Discussion competition

Wynberg Girls’ Public Speaking Society hosted and organised its first independent Forum Discussion competition on Wednesday the 24th of October, with great success. The event, initiated by Lauren Gildenhuys and Mr Fernandez, respective student and teacher heads of the society, was organised to promote Forum Discussion as a genre of public speaking, and give more junior society members the chance to test their skills now that Matrics are writing exams and new positions have opened up in the team.

Forum discussions involve a group of four speakers and a chairperson (who are seated in a semi-circle facing the audience) speaking about a topic that they have been asked to discuss, with ten minutes preparation. The topic is usually a controversial statement which demands to be thoroughly explored in the ten minutes the team have to perform. The discussion is not a debate, but rather a relaxed, intellectual conversation between friends – the aim is for the discussion to be as entertaining, insightful and energetic as possible, with each team member contributing their own opinions in an eloquent and entertaining manner. The discussion needs to be interesting and grab the attention of the audience, leaving them to formulate their own opinion of the topic.

A Forum Discussion competition is held by SACEE each year, but the Public Speaking Society felt that more exposure to the genre was needed, and so set out to host their own competition in order to gain more experience. Rustenburg, Westerford, Bishops, Reddam House Constantia and Claremont High were the schools who participated in the event, along with Wynberg Girls’ own team, and the evening (as well as the delicious cupcakes that had been ordered) was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Some of the topics included: ‘The greatest danger facing South Africa is the gap between the rich and poor‘, ‘Whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop‘ and ‘The differences between men and women outweigh the similarities‘. The discussions were both analytical and entertaining, as well as current and inclusive, and all six teams developed their topics with outstanding skill, leaving the adjudicators – Ms Claassens and Mr Liknaitsky of Abbotts College – with a difficult decision. In the end it was a deserving Westerford who took first place, with Rustenburg coming second and Bishops third. The Wynberg Girls’ team, however, did us proud and received high praise from the adjudicators, who described their discussion as “passionate, interesting, meaty and controversial” . We congratulate the team, who consisted of Robynne Samuels (as chairperson), Layla Kimmie, Andra Hoole, Anezwa Sibukwana and Gabi Jacobs, on their excellent performance.

All in all it was a wonderful, valuable event, and we hope that it will not be the last!

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