The Spoken Arts and Debate Society (SADS) emerges as the winner of the annual World Debate Championship

By Stecy Onyango

Chantelle Mukabi (SADS Chair) and Kagia Samuel (SADS Vice Chair) were recently named as winners of the annual Uhuru World Debate Championship (UWDC), which saw 44 countries taking part in the competition, bringing together 400 debaters, 100 judges, and over 40 countries from across the world.

The competition was held across two time zones and three divisions, namely the Open Category (the highest category for the highest skilled and most fluent debaters), the ESL (English as Second Language being the second category), and the Schools Category (for students at secondary education level). Kagia and Chantelle signed up as ESL speakers, like most African debaters do, but they had such high scores in the preliminary rounds that they ended up breaking through to the Open Category as the 9th breaking Open team out of 32 selected teams for the Out Rounds (octo-finals, quarter-finals, semifinals and the grand finale). They proceeded to win all the out rounds and were able to emerge as the World Champions of the Uhuru World Debate Championship through a unanimous decision by the Global Chief Adjudication Panel. In addition to this, Chantelle was named as the 7th Best Speaker in the Open Category and the 4th Best Speaker in the ESL Category, with Kagia Samuel named as the 8th Best Speaker in the ESL Category.

This marks one of the many wins by the pair at various competitions, including:

  • The Annual Pan African Universities Debate Championship (PAUDC), where they emerged as quarter-finalists, with Chantelle winning Best Speaker in East Africa and Best Speaker in
  • Kenya, with Kagia winning 2nd Best Speaker in East Africa and 2nd Best Speaker in Kenya.
  • East Africa Universities Debate Championship (EAUDC), where they were both finalists, and Kagia won first runners up, with Chantelle emerging as the 5th Best East African Speaker.
  • Kingsman Debate Championship - as a team, they were first runners up, Chantelle won 3rd Best Speaker and Kagia won 5th Best Speaker.
  • The Annual Route to Food Debate Championship, where Kagia won first runners up and Chantelle was selected to be on the invitational Adjudication Panel.
  • In-House Debate Championship Series - both have been consistent Champions and Best Speakers in all 4 tournaments of the series.

In recognition of their achievements, the Pan African Universities Debate Championship Council (PAUDCC) nominated Chantelle and Kagia as Director of Recruitment for East Africa and Director of Sponsorship & Funding for the Council respectively.

Following these wins and global exposure, the Society has seen an influx of requests for partnerships and multiple requests to join and train with SADS form debaters across the world including Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, India, UK, South Africa, and others. It was this winning streak that saw Chantelle partner up with renowned South African debater, Anam Azhar, to win the Vanderbilt Open Tournament.

These wins have also seen Chantelle and Kagia being sought out to participate in prestigious global tournaments like the upcoming Olympia 2021 Invitational Tournament of 32 of East Africa’s best speakers, and the African Nations 2021 Invitational Championship of 40 of Africa’s best speakers, among others, which are yet to be announced.

The Society hopes to soar to even greater heights this year, and thanks its patron, Dr. Quin Awuor for her relentless support and encouragement.

For further information on SADS, you can contact us at:

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