Rhodes University debating team overthrew University of Free State to become the 2009 PAUDC champions. The hosts, University of Botswana, came second after a very tough encounter.
The debating championships were held from the 12th to the 18th of December, with various African universities participating. For the first time ever, high schools also participated in the event. A Zimbabwe high school walked away with the High Schools Championship title.
One of the key topics that was debated during the week long championships was: “Child Labour is justified in developing countries”. For the finals, the universities debated the motion “Immunity in exchange for resignation”.
Noel Selegzi – a representative of the Open Society, the major sponsor of the debates, stated that their main interest was to ensure that the debate culture does not die a slow death.
“We are mainly interested in growing the debate culture among the youth and the whole population,” he said.
He explained that since the start of the debate championships in 2008, they have seen tremendous growth in debating as more and more participants graced the event.
“The quality of the debates is also impressive,” he added.
In an interview with The Sunday Standard, Chair of the organizing committee, Justice Motlhabani, noted that the event was a success as more people participated.
“The whole event was a success, more people participated. We had 400 participants and everyone cooperated well during the whole week,” he said.
Motlhabani further explained that the championships are also a way of promoting active citizenship and debate knowledge in the African Continent, adding that problems and issues affecting the African continent were discussed. Most of the motions that were put before the debaters are pertinent in the African continent.
He noted that the championships also helped spread debates. “For instance, countries like Rwanda, which was participating for the first time, will go back to their countries and share what transpired,” he said.