Spoken Arts and Debate Society soars high at the 1st leg of Ilo'uwa opens

By Lauryn Ojore

Spoken Arts and Debate Society (SADS) has yet again made its mark in the debate arena, this time at the Ilo'uwa debate tournament, the first leg of the Juja Opens Debate hosted by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The tournament, held on the weekend of March 18 and 19, saw the participation of several universities from Kenya.

The word Ilo'uwa is derived from the Maa language spoken by the Maasai community in Kenya and means "the coming together of people." This year's Ilo'uwa debate tournament offered a unique opportunity for students to develop their debate skills, engage with peers from other universities, and expand their intellectual horizons

The tournament featured five teams from the USIU-Africa, all of whom put in excellent performances. In fact, all five teams broke to the semi-finals, which is a testament to the strength and competitiveness of the debate program.

One of the standout teams at the tournament was Kiragu Kimani and Jeremiah Kashaka, who broke 1st to the Open finals and eventually won the tournament. What made this pairing particularly noteworthy was that it was a cross-institutional pairing between USIU-Africa and Strathmore University. Kashaka, who is the Vice Chair and debate trainer at SADS, hadn't debated since the Pan African University Debate Championship (PAUDC) in 2022, but he proved that he still has what it takes to win at the highest level.

Another team that performed exceptionally well at the tournament was Hafsa Mohamed and Hasritha Sunnam, who broke 1st in the Novice category and qualified for the Open break due to their impressive performance and ranked as the top 2 novice speakers. Hasritha's win was particularly notable since it was only her second tournament, and she has ranked top in speaker category.

Samuel Lyomoki and Baden Eric also put in strong performances, despite not having debated for a while. They advanced to the Novice finals and were 1st runners up, and they were also ranked 6th and 7th best speakers, respectively.

The tournament was not just about winning, however. It was also about the spirit and culture of debate, which was clearly evident in the way that all the teams conducted themselves. The tournament provided a platform for students to practice and hone their skills, and it was a breeding ground for new ideas and fresh perspectives.

The performance of USIU-Africa's debaters was not limited to the Ilo'uwa tournament. At the same time as the Ilo'uwa tournament, debaters Joshua Wambugu, Wanjiru Karugu and judge Lauryn Ojore represented USIU-Africa at the Africa Top Universities Debating Championship, an exclusive invite-only debate where Joshua and Wanjiru qualified since they broke at PAUDC 2022. This further solidified the reputation of USIU-Africa's debate program on an international level.

The Ilo'uwa debate tournament was a successful event for the SADS team, and a great opportunity for the debaters to showcase their skills and engage in meaningful discourse. The team's performance at the tournament, coupled with their representation at the Africa Top Universities Debating Championship, has put the university's debate program on the international stage. The team has yet again proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the African debate scene, and we can only look forward.

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