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  • UCT DEBATING ALUMNI: Contact the union - we want to hear from you in celebrating UCTDU's 150th.
  • NATIONALS: The South African Nationals Universities Debating Championships takes place 29 June to 6 July in Bellville.
  • Subsequent events

Latest News

Southern African Universities Debating Championships 2013


UCT teams and adjudicators performed exceptionally and walked away with several awards. Congratulations to David Harris and Michael Macklin for winning the EFL final, in which four UCT teams competed!

The final motion was THBT early education should actively subvert gender roles. The full tab can be downloaded here.

Well done to the four EFL finalist teams:

  • OG - Wolverine (Yash Nair and Colin Besaans)
  • OO - Mr Fantastic (James Laird-Smith and Neil Du Toit)
  • CG - Nightwing (David Harris and Michael Macklin)
  • CO - Rocket Raccoon (James Wink and Tom McLennan)

All UCT teams broke, in positions 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 16. Congratulations to Samantha Dunne and Kris Lemon, eliminated at Quarters, and the teams of Geoffrey Kilpin and Dan Corder as well as Irene Pampallis and Fanele Mashwama, eliminated at Semis.

In adjudication, UCT received the award for Best Adjudication Institution after all 8 UCT judges broke and adjudicated in the ESL break rounds. Well done to all adjudicators: Amber Knox, Andrew Attieh, Brynde Jeffes, Dorcus Segooa, Ioana Branga-Peicu, Kira Düsterwald, Thomas von Zahn and Timothy de Wet. In addition, Brynde Jeffes won the award for Best New Adjudicator and Kira Düsterwald for Best Adjudicator.

In the speaking rankings, Michael Macklin tied as the Best Speaker. Among the top 10 were also Yash Nair, Colin Besaans, Irene Pampallis, Fanele Mashwama, David Harris and James Laird-Smith of UCT.

Finally, congratulations to the ESL Finalists and winning team Captain America from Fort Hare, the speakers from other institutions in the top 10, the public speaking winner Alistair van Heerden and all other debaters in the tournament. UCTDU thanks UWC and the CAP for hosting a well-run and enjoyable tournament!



Training for Nationals 2013


The teams and judges for the South African Nationals Universities Debating Championships have been involved in training debates and discussions in the week building up to the competition, including debating in an informal Fantasy Mini tournament over the weekend of 22-23 June.

Updates for the tournament will be available through our Twitter account and Facebook page. Good luck to the 7 UCT teams and 8 UCT adjudicators!


Internal League Finals, First Semester 2013


After a successful first semester Internal League based on an individuals ranking system and including a break to semi-finals, the finals were held at the chambers of the Western Cape Parliament in Cape Town and chaired by James Wink. Congratulations to Yash Nair and James Laird-Smith, who won the final in Opening Opposition.

The motion was: In a society in which clones existed, lived separately from humans and were harvested for their organs upon coming of age, this house would never keep the reality of the situation a secret from the clones [sic].

The teams breaking to the final were:

  • OG: Thomas McLennan and Noah de Villiers
  • OO: Yash Nair and James Laird-Smith
  • CG: Dan Corder and Neil Du Toit
  • CO: David Harris and Colin Besaans

The adjudication panel for the evening was chaired by Amber Knox and included Ioana Branga-Peicu, Timothy de Wet, Kira Düsterwald, Kiah Johnson, Tristan von Zahn and Madeline Zhu (Harvard).



Nationals 2013: Trials


First semester trials were held for speakers over a weekend in May and for adjudicators a few weeks later. The trials were of a high quality and very competitive, and determined the teams and adjudicators to represent UCTDU at Nationals in July.

The best 14 speakers were selected as follows:

  1. Thomas McLennan
  2. James Wink
  3. Michael Macklin
  4. Neil Du Toit
  5. David Harris
  6. Yash Nair
  7. James Laird-Smith
  8. Colin Besaans
  9. Irene Pampallis
  10. Fanele Mashwama
  11. Dan Corder
  12. Geoffrey Kilpin
  13. Kris Lemon
  14. Samantha Dunne

The best 8 adjudicators (in no particular order) were selected as follows:

  • Kira Düsterwald
  • Thomas von Zahn
  • Kiah Johnson
  • Ioana Branga-Peicu
  • Dorcus Segooa
  • Timothy de Wet
  • Brynde Jeffes
  • Andrew Attieh


Madison Cup, Provincials and the Durban Open 2013


Well done to Tristan von Zahn and Daniel Corder on placing second at the James Madison Cup in March!


A team of UCTDU members took part in Western Province Provincials at CPUT in Bellville in April, with great success. Congratulations to Fanele Mashwama and Colin Besaans on winning the tournament! Three other UCT teams made the finals and three judges, co-CAs Mike Macklin and Tristan von Zahn as well as Yash Nair, broke. Fanele placed second and Colin third in the speakers' rankings. Congratulations also to Michael van Niekerk and Brynde Jeffes for placing 4th and 5th respectively on the rankings.

The full tab can be found here.


Union members also participated in the Durban Open held at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal's Howard Campus. Congratulations to David Harris and Yash Nair who both placed 5th on the speaker rankings. Thomas von Zahn broke as a judge, and Yash Nair and Mike Macklin spoke in the finals.


2013 Social Events and the First UCTDU Braai


UCTDU has hosted a number of Friday social events and public debates. The most recent one, about Varsity newspaper's contentious race-attractiveness article and associated survey was very popular with Union members as well as other participants. Below are photos from the Union's braai, held on UCT's Jammie Steps after the debate.



More photos can be found at this link.


UCTDU Pro-Am Tournament 2013


The Union hosted a weekend tournament in the beginning of March pairing a Professional (a speaker having broken at a major tournament) and an Amateur in each team. The tournament culminated a few weeks' Pro-Am training internally and included speakers and adjudicators from other institutions, such as UWC and Stellenbosch. Well done to the overall winners, David Harris and Michael van Niekerk, and to the best speakers (Ams: Luke Farrell and Devin Krok, Pro: Michael Macklin) and best adjudicators (Am: Timothy de Wet, Pro: Amber Knox), but also to all competitors in the tournament!

The full tab can be viewed here.


Worlds 2012-13: Berlin


The UCT team at WUDC 2013 in Berlin this year consisted of Tom McLennan and Noah de Villiers, with Jenna Nicholls adjudicating. Congratulations to Jenna for breaking as a judge! The highest ranked South African team was Wits A, who broke 13th and were knocked out at the open octo finals. The full tab can be downloaded here.


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