Stratizens Triumph at Olympia Invitational Debate Tournament


The Strathmore Debate Society clinched monumental victories at the prestigious Olympia Invitational, an elite invitation-only tournament that annually gathers the crème de la crème of debating talents from across East Africa. In a nutshell, this isn’t just any tournament; imagine the Olympics, but replace the sports with the art of argument. It’s where the elite of East Africa’s debate scene come to spar, intellectually speaking, of course.

The Strathmore team, comprised of Jeff Melita, #ClassOf2023 Strathmore Law student, and Shamiah Muchesia, a #ClassOf2024, Strathmore Law student from the Class of 2024, won the tournament taking home 2,000,000 Ugandan shillings. The event was nothing short of a historic moment for Shamiah, as it was his debut in an international debate tournament and win it. The spotlight didn’t shine on Jeff and Shamiah alone: Michelle Adika stole the show by being crowned the Best Overall Speaker of the event, while Trudeau Okech, another Strathmore luminary, was hot on her heels for the second-best overall speaker.

Their  journey in the Olympia Tournament was fraught with the kind of tension typical of high octane moments. A diverse band of individuals, their minds bristling with facts, theories, and occasional comic relief, huddled together not around a war table, but a library study desk littered with coffee cups, determined to turn their pre-tournament jitters into strategic genius. Jeff Melita eloquently sums up the essence of their journey: “It’s these experiences that enable you to grow as a speaker and as a voice of change in your society.” On her part, Michelle Adika says, “Debating has taught me that there’s always more than one side to a story. It’s about listening to different perspectives and finding a common ground, even when you don’t agree.”

The Strathmore Debate Society’s remarkable win at the Olympia Invitational has solidified its reputation as a debating powerhouse within the region. This victory does more than just add another trophy to  their already impressive collection. It cements their reputation as the heavyweight champion of debating in the region.

The motion that catapulted them to victory was as contentious as it was timely: Should countries with significant oil and gas reserves prioritize economic growth, even if it risks compromising their commitments to sustainable development goals like combating climate change? It’s the kind of topic that could start wars on Twitter or at least incite a heated family dinner debate.

And as they made their case, the judges were spellbound, the audience was enraptured, and their opponents? Well, they were taking mental notes for next year. The moment of victory hung in the air like a held breath.  As the announcement echoed through the room, the audience—composed of seasoned debaters, sat on the edge of their crimson velvet seats. Their collective gaze shifted from the judges’ stern expressions to the Strathmore team standing at the podium. The team members exchanged glances, their eyes wide with disbelief and euphoria, as if they had just pulled off a heist against all odds—the heist of the century, one might say, in the realm of intellect.

And the audience? The silence was palpable—a silence that followed a particularly impressive magic trick, where the audience needed time to process that they’d just witnessed the impossible made possible. In that suspended moment, the hall seemed to hold its breath, waiting for reality to catch up with the extraordinary.

Outside the tall arched windows, the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow on the trophy table. The gold-plated cup, engraved with intricate patterns, beckoned to the Strathmore team.  In winning, these Stratizens  didn’t just showcase their prowess in dismantling arguments or constructing indestructible lines of reason. They also demonstrated the profound impact of engaging with and understanding the nuances of global issues. And they did so with the grace of a ballet and the precision of a surgeon – but with  rhetorical strategies as their tools of choice.

The Strathmore Debate Society, through its stellar performance and unwavering dedication, continues to set the bar high, proving once again that the power of persuasion, when harnessed for good, can indeed make waves far beyond the debate podium. For In the end , it’s not just about the trophies or the cash prize (though, let’s be honest, those are pretty great)

Congratulations to the team on your win! #KeepWinning

Article written by: Keith Albert

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