On the 31st of August, Holy Cross High school took part in the Provincial SAASTA School Debate Competition. Holy Cross High had first taken part in the qualifying round on the 3rd of August 2019, and were amongst ten schools who made it through to the provincial round.

The topic at provincials was:

South Africa is amongst the richest countries in biodiversity globally, being home to nearly10% of all known species of birds, fish and plants registered in the world and 6% of mammal and reptile species. Bioprospecting, the exploration of living things for socio-economically valuable compounds, links South Africa’s rich biodiversity and indigenous knowledge to potentially benefit the South African health, pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors in search of improved health, cures for diseases and food security.

Biodiversity is under threat due to influences such as climate change. Bioprospecting faces other risks such as issues of bio piracy (illegal bioprospecting) and the uncertainty in discovering useful compounds. In addition, there are many ethical concerns associated with bioprospecting. Do you think it remains important for South Africa to continue bioprospecting in search of solutions to a myriad of challenges facing the country?

Each debate team has five speakers. The first speaker opens with an opening statement for 4min long. There are then three response speakers that speak for 3min each and the final speaker gives a closing statement, also for 4min long. The only prepared speech is the opening statement. The success of all the other speakers lies in how well the team listens throughout the day, to all the opening statements, responses and imbizo’s (small discussion groups).

Each team had to discuss the topic through one of four perspectives: Socio-cultural, Application and benefits, Economic and Political. Holy Cross High School discussed the topic through the socio-cultural perspective.

The competition was not an easy one, all schools presented very good statements. Thus, the competition was not an easy win. However, the decision amongst the judges were unanimous in terms of who the winning school was. With Oracle Academy taking 3rd place, De Kuilen High School taking second, Holy Cross High School, unanimously, took first place!

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