The entire 2020 saw the world come to an abrupt halt in some dramatic fashion. The outbreak and surge of the COVID -19 pandemic necessitated the abrogation of activities that required convergence of a large number of people. For the debate community, this meant a resort to the use of online platforms to facilitate meetings and tournaments for the most part of the year. Zoom and Discord particularly owe the debate community some big discounts for the excessive use of their platforms.
However, 2021 started on a good note for us in Ghana as the first on-site debate tournament in over a year was organized in Sunyani from 6th to 11th January. The tournament which had about 70 participants was hosted under strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Genesis 2021, an annual initiative of Speech Forces in its third edition, was organized in collaboration with the University of Energy and Natural Resources Forensic Society.
As usual, the tournament featured a number of speakers and adjudicators largely from Nigeria and Ghana. It was a fierce battle of wits in seven preliminary rounds and three out-rounds on critical issues drawn from economics, gender, international relations, democracy, pan Africanism, education etc. In between the rounds, were of course, “socials” – fun events which give participants the opportunity to interact more and socialize debaters from other institutions and countries. What would be a debate tournament without these network events? Not fun for sure!
The tournament climaxed with the Grande Finale and an awards ceremony for deserving participants. To crown it all, Prince Asamoah and Mylo Dadzie, both former national debate champions with University of Ghana and University of cape coast respectively, won the main debate competition. Pearl Kwadade and Joel Acquah from the University of Energy and Natural Resources emerged winners of the novice category.
There were some outstanding individual recognitions as well. Notable amongst them was the overall best speaker and best judge awards which went to Prince Asamoah (Graduate) and Prosper Michael Ametu (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology ) respectively. Kelvin Kwabena Damptey (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology) and Ruth Selorme Acolatse (University of Ghana) were also awarded the best novice speaker and judge respectively.
Now that the second wave of the pandemic is here with us, we hope it will not take another year before we have the next on-site tournament. For now, stay safe and observe the safety protocols and restrictions. Watch out for Genesis 2022!
Written by: Dawn Tetteh