South African high school learners recently won the 5th International School Moot Court Competition in Gdynia, Poland, for the fourth time since 2014.
The competition affords learners an opportunity to understand how the Constitution and the law work.
Team South Africa consisted of Okhela Sigwela and Lizalise Dlomo, from Hudson Park High School in East London; Mihlali Stofile and Ondele Bede, from Holy Cross High School in Mthatha, Eastern Cape; Sureshka Naidoo and Caitlin Schwarer, from Eden College in Durban; and Nondumiso Ntshangase and Nosipho Dube from Mathubesizwe High School in Mandeni, KwaZulu-Natal.
Congratulating the team, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the victory is an achievement for all South Africans.
“This victory tells us that our schools are effective in preparing young South Africans for life beyond the classroom and beyond the borders of our country. This should inspire all of us to work even harder to secure better education outcomes for all learners,” he said.
Before bagging victory at the international competition, the learners first had to conquer the provincial and national legs of the competition by presenting for and against arguments in hypothetical scenarios.
“Locally, our arguments were based on a child having hair extensions when he was not allowed to have them at school. We had to argue whether or not the learner’s rights to education and his own beliefs were being violated, because the dreadlocks were for religious purposes,” says Dlomo.
At the international competition, the team argued a scenario in which a security minister from a fictitious country forcibly removed people from their native land. Dlomo says the team had to prove that the minister violated the people’s rights and that he did not.
Sigwela says the competition helped sharpen her arguing skills and ability to critically analyse situations, and that the competition is a great opportunity for those looking to grow their skills.
“This competition is not only a platform for people who have an interest in law as a career, but also for any person who wants to improve themselves because it includes critical and analytical skills.”