Rarely do Batswana take their place on the big stage and show the world what they are made of.
But Lone Future Kolobe, of Livingstone Kolobeng College, representing the country at this year’s International IDEA Youth Forum, stood out as a world class and champion debater.
The Youth Forum was a 2-week International high school debate event, which combined elements of competition, education and inter-cultural learning.
This year’s Forum was held in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 19 to August 1, 2011.
Botswana was represented by Kolobe, its first speaker, second speaker Sabehaa Khan and whip speaker Zahra Imran.
At stake in each debate was a contest of reason in which team’s debate on the said motion, with one side presenting arguments for the topic and the other side arguing against the topic.
Each debate was watched by a panel of international judges who heard arguments presented by both sides and awarded victory to one of the teams based on quality of argumentation and presentation skills.
┬áBotswana made an immediate impact on the event, winning the first four of six initial rounds on the motion.
At times demonstrating remarkable speech and reasoning ability, team Botswana deconstructed the motion of High Income countries having a moral obligation to open up its boarders to migrants… to exceptional effect. Opening speaker Kolobe had to ensure that his speech contained key definitions of terms such as “High Income countries” and “moral obligation”, reasoned arguments suggesting why that moral obligations exists or not, conclusions as to what harm or benefit may occur to the state as a result of “opening boarders”.
Debaters were expected to bring evidence, statistics and cite authorities to support their arguments and, where necessary, make principled or philosophical conclusions.
When the rounds were done, team Botswana of Zahra, Lone and Sabehaa finished behind Serbia by a point at position 18 in the competition, which was contested by 53 nations.
The team’s 18th position is an improvement from last year’s ranking where Botswana finished outside the tournament’s top 20 at 22nd position.
Kolobe, who was Botswana’s highest ranked speaker, finished in the top 30 best speakers out of more than 250 debaters from around the world in this year’s forum.
Jason Shiri of Zimbabwe was the highest ranked African debater at 8th place.
As for the tournament itself, an unlikely pairing of two teams from Lithuania debated against two teams from the U.S.A. in the semi finals.
In both debates, the North American teams won, making this year’s forum the first to be contested by two teams from the same country.
Team Botswana’s coach was selected from more than 65 International judges at the event to be part of the 7-member panel of finalist judges. Judges were selected on criteria, including experience, understanding of debate and Public speaking, quality of feedback given to speaker and others.
To mark Lone Future Kolobe’s astounding achievement, the Principal of Al Nur School announced on arrival his intention to offer Kolobe a scholarship to study his A- levels at Al Nur School – fitting reward for a student who sets himself high ambitions and works hard to achieve them.
Well done Mr. Kolobe and team Botswana.