Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts
Local public speaker Lloyd Mugabe was crowned the best at the just-ended Southern African Champion of Public Speaking tourney in Cape Town, South Africa. Mugabe was crowned the best for the third time in five years, and is expected to represent district 74 (Southern Africa) at the World Championships of Public Speaking to be held in Chicago, Illinois, next month.
The contests which started with over 35 000 competitors from a membership base of 352 000 worldwide saw Mugabe making it into the top 90 and qualifying for the global semi-finals.
Mugabe said he is confident that he will bring the crown home, considering his vast experience.
“I believe this year I will be the last man standing. It is about time the title came to Africa, for the first time,” he said.
Mugabe who has been a Toastmaster since 2009 ascribes his communication and leadership skills to Toastmasters.
Executive Toastmasters club vice-president public relations, Patience Mhlolo said they have hope in Mugabe and wished him well.
“We want this secret called ‘toastmasters’ to be known by all Zimbabweans as the platform is grooming great leaders and speakers globally. We are proud of Mugabe and hope he brings the crown home,” she said.
Each year the Toastmasters International Convention culminates in the final round of the International Speech Contest, where the World Champion of Public Speaking is chosen.
In this exciting event, 10 contestants from all over the world deliver a five to seven-minute speeches that are evaluated by a panel of experienced Toastmasters.
Toastmasters International is the brainchild of Ralph C Smedley, who in 1924, in the basement of a YMCA chapter in Santa Ana, California, held the first meeting of what would eventually become Toastmasters International.
It is an experiential leadership development programme, which is open to adults above 18, thriving on instant feedback given by evaluators who volunteer to evaluate speeches delivered from projects they would have previously accomplished.
Last year saw Singapore management consultant, Manoj Vasudevan being crowned world champion.
Vasudevan, along with other nine contestants, reached the championship level after several eliminating rounds that began six months ago with 30 000 participants.
He won with a speech titled “Pull Less, Bend More,” claiming his title with a humorous tale of his own marriage.