Spoken Arts and Debate Society (SADS) succeeds in virtual global arena during COVID-19

By Precious Wangu

The Summer Semester 2020 has ended, and while its beginning saw the club fully transition to online activities via Zoom, Google Meets meetings and WhatsApp platforms for internal and external communications, there has been incredible success in all the projects that the Spoken Arts & Debate Society (SADS) Committee planned, prepared and executed. The Committee proactively managed to run pilot tests earlier during the Easter break with the pandemic in mind. The efficiency in execution of the planned activities were done well in advance.

Following the rebrand of the Public Speaking Club into the Spoken Arts and Debate Society, we have employed a divide and conquer strategy to make sure that our projects are efficient and effective. We have divided our portfolios as follows:

  • Debate – Chantelle Mukabi & Kagia Samuel

  • Public Speaking – Stecy Onyango & Shalom Kimani

  • Spoken Word, Poetry & Readings – Precious Wangu & Jeremiah Kashaka

  • Marketing & Design – Bienvenu Faraja

    Through the tireless efforts of the committee members, the Society was able to accomplish the following last semester:

    Debate: Under the leadership of Chantelle Mukabi & Kagia Samuel, SADS has hosted multiple online tournaments including the In-House Debate Series consisting of 3 debate tournaments per semester where international debaters partner with SADS members and world-renowned adjudicators come to judge. Feedback from all their tournaments has been outstanding and everyone is eagerly waiting for the next tournament in the series, In-House 4.0, which will be held from November 2 to 8, 2020. Additionally, Chantelle & Kagia have been working with highly experienced trainers from all over the world drawn from the UK, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and many more countries, to coach SADS members and participate in consistent debate practice sessions. Members are also continually exposed to external debate tournaments and encouraged to participate in various continental debate competitions, which include Xtentions, Laureate Debate Championship, Uhuru Digital Debate Championship (UDDC), Jozi to Accra Debate Championships, among others.

    Public Speaking: Shalom and Stecy have been able to organize numerous trainings for the Society, by recruiting the best public speakers, both locally and across the world, to share their experiences. This has included recruiting them for sessions such as the Shark Tank Series and the Selling Pitch Series where members send in their pitches and speeches and are judged and taken through an extensive training by a panel of highly experienced judges from around the world. Additionally, they have continually held consistent internal Public Speaking practice sessions for members and equipped them with tools such as helpful videos, tips and further training sessions. This has led to a dramatic improvement in members’ confidence when speaking publicly as well as increased skills and knowledge on a wide array of topics.

    Spoken Word, Poetry & Readings: Under Precious Wangu & Jeremiah Kashaka, there has been a successful introduction to SADS new products, and a wonderful reception of the new branch of the Society. Members have been able to tap into their creative sides and there has been consistent sharing and analysis of pieces from members and external creatives. Precious & Jeremiah have conducted trainings by some of the most experienced poets and spoken word artists internationally, with the most notable of these being a training by Ivan Irakoze. The Society held its first ever poetry and spoken word event, dubbed Slam Dunk Poetry, which saw the Society’s members as well as creatives from other schools and countries share their pieces in front of an audience, including musical interludes by upcoming artists. The event was a raging success and everyone is eager for Slam Dunk Poetry 2.0 to be held this semester.

    Marketing: Bienvenu Faraja has worked tirelessly to create posters for all events and prepare detailed marketing strategies. The Society has also allowed external debaters from other schools and different parts of the world to join SADS and engage on our platforms as a way of enhancing diversification, sharing knowledge, and forming meaningful connections. The current committee continues to progress rapidly with the consistent help and support of Dr. Quin Awuor (SADS Patron), Eunice Njagi (Former Public Speaking Club Chairperson) and Faith Musumba (Former Public Speaking Club Vice Chairperson) to ensure that the Society soars to greater heights.

    Under the project leaders, we have been conducting successful Society meetings and trainings while succeeding in international online tournaments as we drive our new product portfolio and continuously innovate with feedback and support from our members. Our future plan is to continue growing and expanding SADS, building a Society of commitment, adaptability and courage as per our core values. We strive to continue incorporating international students and taking the Spoken Arts & Debate Society to greater heights.

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