Gaborone Debating League ends
The Gaborone Debating League ended well for Maru-a-Pula. Although we didn’t make the finals, we ended 6th out of 10 teams, with 3 wins and 3 losses.
The last debate that we lost was against Westwood, on the topic that THW force government to give financial assistance to pregnant teenage mothers. After that, MaP won the last two debates, on TH Regrets the 30% Alcohol Levy (a tax Botswana instituted) and THW hold parents criminally liable for the juvenile actions of their children. A third win was a result of a bye. Results for the start of the competition can be found here.
The team improved significantly as the tournament progressed and it was a great experience coaching them to the standard they are at at the moment.
The attached picture is of Thabo, an astute speaker in his last year of his IGCSEs.
I enjoy debating.
I do a lot of it; I’ve participated in competitions and informal debates. I’ve trained juniors and seniors; done research, written up and compiled argumentation.
I’m also of the opinion that it’s really useful in life. Debating doesn’t have to be - and, in fact, shouldn’t - be limited to “a debate vs school X next Monday”. My experiences today have cemented that idea in my mind.
This morning, I missed my flight.
I was supposed to fly from Gaborone to Johannesburg, to catch a connecting flight to Cape Town later that day. I arrived at the airport just in time to catch the last of the checking in for the flight I was supposed to be on. Unfortunately, the official who keyed in the credit card number used to book the flight told me that it was rejected; they were unable to allow me onto the flight due to security concerns over fraudulent credit cards.
Luckily, there was another flight leaving half an hour later that I could perhaps catch. After every other passenger had checked in and gone to the boarding gate, I asked if I could be put on that flight and a different official took the credit card number to verify that I was able to catch it.
To be clear about a few things: exactly the same credit card and credit card number. The same airport, the same flight route, the same airline. The same situation as before (albeit with me a little less rushed and panicked) - with one major change: a different airport official inputting the card number.
And, of course, it worked. He told me that I was now booked on this flight and everything was fine - I just had to pay the fee after having missed my original flight and changing flights.
I wasn’t happy about this and called him out on it, explaining how it was an error on their part that the first official hadn’t keyed it in correctly and showing how their own error was now forcing me to pay an extra P500 (+- R550).
After a discussion, he conceded that he couldn’t debate it and told me there would be no additional charge.
I’m not writing this to show off that I was able to get out of paying extra, or because I’m thrilled with what I did. I write it to give a personal example for how debating is useful outside of a ‘clinical’ environment, outside of the rules of a competition, and in real life.
Speaking well, being persuasive using logic helps you out in many situations - such as getting from Gaborone to Johannesburg after missing your flight, for no extra cost.
The local debating league here is now up and running and we’ve already had our first two debates.
The first, which took place on Friday, was against MAP’s old rivals, GSS, on the topic of “THW remove pictures of the president from public buildings.”
The second was this morning, against Al Nur, on the motion “THW attach academic performances to student allowances”
As each debate happens, I’ll write up a separate entry for how it played out.
This post will be updated to reflect the current standings:
Debate # // Prop // Opp // result
1) GSS v MAP - Prop
2) Al Nur v MAP - Prop