Teaching students the fine art of arguing

INTREPID EXPLORERS: Debating teams Eksplisit and Enigma from the Wellington Campus had great fun exploring Pretoria on a recent trip to take part in the Dink of Sink competition.

CPUT was well represented by two committed teams named Enigma and Eksplisit at this year’s Dink of Sink debating competition in Pretoria.

An Afrikaans debating competition for high school students and universities, Dink of Sink’s (think or sink) university finals were held earlier this month.

Though neither of the two teams from the Wellington campus placed in the competition, all the participants had a lot of fun and they want to try it again.

One of the team members, Janette van Rensburg is a second year education student on the Wellington campus studying how to teach Maths and English for senior phase and FET learners.

Last year’s team, the first ever to take part in the Dink of Sink competition was pulled together by Johan Pienaar who started the Debat en Kunste Vereniging (the debating and arts society) on the Wellington campus.

“Now we are trying to expand the debating community to get more people involved. We are trying to expand the literature and fine arts part of campus. There is an audience because people are studying the arts in order to teach the subjects,” said van Rensburg.

“We are trying to get a performing arts group off the ground too, but we are swamped with just the debating right now.”

Van Rensburg says the team appreciated that the Dink of Sink organising committee kept the rules more informal than the ATKV debating competition, allowing participants to use Afrikaans dialects.

“The organisation keeps in mind that it is a student competition so they don’t force us into a rigid routine.

“We were speaking in Pretoria and the universities we went up against were North West and Pretoria and they have a very different way of speaking Afrikaans.

“Just in their normal way of speaking I was hearing words I have only ever read in a textbook,” she said.

Van Rensburg chalks up the teams not placing to a total lack of preparation but now they know they should start prepping this year for next year’s competition.

“I want to build on this and not just for the competition. We should practice speech writing as well. Most of the people who joined the club do it for the love of debating, so we need to teach the formalities of debating which will channel the energy and make it more structured to deliver the message in a way that everyone understands.

“We want to do weekly practices and to start something on campus where there’s debating between the different hostels so we can see what talent is available in the hostels.

“We should also look into establishing an English debating team, there seems to be a call for that as well.”

*You can contact van Rensburg on to find out more about the Wellington campus debating team.

Written by Theresa Smith

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