Spoken Arts and Debate Society (SADS) wins American debate, sweeps six categories at the Global Unitalks awards

By Chantelle Mukabi

The last weekend of January has brought a fruitful end to the first month of 2021 for the Spoken Arts and Debate Society, who scooped an award at the annual Vanderbilt IV Open Tournament, which was held virtually on January and 30 and 31. The tournament, based in the United States, was attended by 130 debaters from 31 universities, 6 countries, and 3 continents. The Tournament marked USIU-Africa’s first appearance at the prestigious event.

USIU-Africa was represented by Chantelle Mukabi (SADS Chair), who partnered up with South African debater, Anam Azhar. Other teams who participated in the tournament were Kashaka Jeremiah (SADS Logistics Officer) in partnership with Louis Gitu (SADS member). The judges representing the Society included Kagia Samuel (SADS Vice Chair) and Bienvenu Faraja (SADS InterClub Coordinator).

The grueling tournament was a test of commitment for the debaters and participants, who had to burn the midnight oil throughout the duration of the campaign, to make up for the time difference between the African countries participating and the United States. This sacrifice paid off when Anam Azhar and Chantelle Mukabi won the tournament, flying the USIU-Africa flag high yet again on the international stage.

Speaking to CTW, the Society’s Patron, Dr. Quin Awuor noted that the recent string of international wins recorded by SADS had resulted in a wave of positive and sustained interest in the Society.

“The international recognition that SADS has been able to get over the past few years has generated so much interest in USIU-Africa. The high-level knowledge and skill we continue to display has students and speaking unions from across the world demanding to know who USIU-Africa is and requesting to come and join SADS trainings to learn from the best,” she said.

The pairing with Anam Azhar from the Wits Debating Union from the University of Witwatersrand has opened up the Society’s links to the South African speaking community, by virtue of her position as one of the most prominent debaters in the world. She has shared her expertise with multiple speaking unions worldwide, including the Society.

Following their win, Ms. Azhar noted that her decision to partner up with Chantelle was as a result of the team’s performance at the Uhuru Worlds Debate Championship (UWDC), which took place in early January.

“I served as one of the Chief Adjudicators at the Uhuru Worlds Debate Championship, in which Chantelle and Kagia Samuel emerged as the World Champions of the global speaking community. I was impressed by Chantelle’s performance, and that was when we decided to join forces and take on the Vanderbilt IV Tournament,” she said.

“It was an honor to participate in and win the tournament with Chantelle, who is recognized as a world champion, and one of the best speakers on the African continent. I look forward to similar partnerships with other members of the Society,” she added.

Elsewhere, other members of the Society received awards across six categories at the Global Unitalks Awards ceremony, held on January 31. One of the biggest winners of the night was Joy Michelle Moraa, who finally received her award for being the winner of the International English- Speaking Competition 2020, and who was also selected as one of the top six finalists of the grand finale of the One Belt & Road Youth English Speaking Competition & China Daily -21st Century Cup International English Speaking Competition 2020.

“I am still amazed that I was able to emerge as the winner of the competition, having decided to take part in the competition on a leap of faith after encouragement from my team members. It is indeed my honour to represent USIU-Africa at such a global level, and I hope to participate in any future events,” she said.

Other students who received awards during the event included Lynda Muthama, Rita Mwende Mulei, Riiba Tashley and Claudia Mugaki. Lyndah was also recognized with a Citizen of the World award.

You can watch the award ceremony here: GLOBAL UNITALKS AWARDS CEREMONY - YouTube

For further information on SADS, you can contact them at: sads@clubs.usiu.ac.ke

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