Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument

Originally posted by Sekese Rasephei

I was first introduced to Debate in secondary school back in 2004 at Mazenod High School. To this day, I remain forever grateful to have been introduced to such a phenomenal activity and I shall stay indebted to MZHS for having given me that platform. That’s how it all started, joining the English club at high school as a 13 year old boy. Looking back now, it’s almost hard to believe that it’s almost been a decade (on & off) and truthfully, I feel like I am only at the threshold of what is looking and has proved to be a very passionate love affair.

Far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a fairly talkative person (as self-defeating as that sounds) but if anything, I’ve prided myself in knowing when to talk and mostly talking sense when I decide to. I guess this very attribute has been the main reason why I’ve felt right at home in this realm.

I’ve mentioned to people on more than one occasion that speaking is an art, amidst deride though… but I still maintain that speaking well is an art. Anyone can talk but to be able to speak well is a feat not achieved by many. There’s just something about someone who can articulate themself in a clear, cohesive manner while getting their message across and eliciting a thorough comprehension from you in the process.

What’s even better is someone who’s so adept in speaking that they can stand in front of a multitude of people and literally convince you (assuming you are part of that multitude of course) that a black surface is white, with no scientific experiment or anything like that… only compelling argumentation and reasoning. I’ve grown to appreciate and look up to people who possess such levels of verbal prowess and such is a staple in the debate circuit, especially with university debate.

This is my first year competing consistently at university level and I’ve never been this excited in a long time. Only a few things compare to the sheer pleasure of watching and taking part in heated yet formal intellectual discourse by young minds about virtually every single issue affecting the world. This is actually something I feel I could do for the rest of my life if it were possible but I’ll bank on the fact that since my concentration of study is in alignment with debate then maybe it’s something I will be doing for eons to come.

Debate has taught me so much that if I was to outline exactly what then it would warrant a blog entry on its own. Don’t get me started on the opportunities and experiences it has afforded me. Half of my life would have never happened if it wasn’t for debate. As vague as that sounds, I’ll leave it at that but just know that debate has done so much for me that it certainly feels like it was written that I would grow up to be a debater.

A generic thing that stands out though, is exemplified by a quote originally said by Bishop Desmond Tutu that reads “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”. I have never been a rowdy or loud person despite my hearty colloquial nature as a result I found this quote quite apt and self-explanatory in summarising the lessons debate continues to teach me.

Well, like I said… I’m only starting. The past nine years have been just a long introduction that served as a preview or a prolonged trial. Moving on forward, I plan to debate and continue to change my life for the better with every seven minutes and twenty seconds I step up on that podium.

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3 responses to “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument

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