Over the last few years, an increasing number of South African learners have been attending international debating tournaments like the Eurasian Schools Debating Championships and the Heart of Europe as part of delegations that are privately trained and organised. This is an encouraging trend, as exposing more South African debaters to international competition can only improve and deepen our local pool of talent.

However, it has come to our attention that at least one such independent team of South African learners attended an international tournament calling themselves "the South African team". This is, of course, inaccurate, as the official South African team is chosen after an extensive nation-wide process which culminates in the national team trials following NSDC each year, and attends international tournaments under the banner of the SASDB. However, it is also potentially damaging to the reputation of the SASDB and South African debating on the international scene because, should such a team behave inappropriately at an international tournament, this casts a shadow on the actual South African national schools team. We believe that this is unfair on the children who have worked hard to be selected for the national team. Moreover, in an activity where judges' perception counts for so much, as in debating, this is something that we would rather avoid.

We respectfully ask that all provincial boards, schools, and private debating initiatives who send teams to international tournaments refrain from calling themselves the South African team, and also refrain from using the name and/or branding of the SASDB.

Thanking you in advance,

Tlou Mashitisho

Mobile: 072 910 9910
Fax: 086 511 0325

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