Speaking up and out

Humour in teaching, building a business brand and mental health were themes at a celebration of World Speech Day.

19 March 2020 | Events

Brandt van der Westhuizen; Scribes Dynamics Publishing; “If you see something, say something.”

Swakopmund • [email protected]

Namibia joined 130 other countries in celebrating 2020 World Speech Day on Monday.

Several speakers used their right to freedom of expression on various topics as the event was streamed live on the website and Facebook page of Scribes Dynamics Publishing who organised the event at The Dome.

According to the founder of Scribes Dynamics, Brandt van der Westhuizen, the event is a celebration of speaking and for people to make their voices heard. “There are many people who have wonderful and amazing ideas and who are frequently left behind because they don’t speak up. They don’t have a voice and we just ignore them.

“Every person needs to be able to say ‘here I am’, and this is what this is really all about. The day is held to call out all unexpected voices to stand up and be heard. If you see something, say something,” Van der Westhuizen said.

He expressed the hope that more platforms for people to practice public speaking would be established.

“I hope that there are more people taking the chance to create opportunities for people from grassroots level to speak up and speak out so that people can say the things that need to be said.”

Van der Westhuizen said that there is a lot of abuse, violence, crime and other bad things, but there is also a lot of good.

“We need to celebrate the goodness and cast the light on the bad. There should be more opportunities like this and if you don’t find anything, make it happen for yourself.”

Speakers like Be Botha, Elrie Pieterse, Eric Mans, Aye-F4r and Ernesto de Jesus graced the stage to talk about topics like humour in teaching, building a business brand and mental health.

Ernesto de Jesus, who delivered a speech on how to be successful, said he is hopeful that his message will make an impact especially on his peers.

“I hope that people change from what they are doing wrong to what they are supposed to be doing. Only when somebody takes a stand and tells us what we’re doing wrong, do we do the right things. I really hope I can be that person."

The sixteen-year-old is a grade eleven learner of Namib High School. He took part in a speech competition at his school earlier this year and was pronounced the best senior public speaker. Subsequently, the judges, who were members of Toastmasters, invited him to take part in the 2020 World Speech Day.

The outspoken De Jesus, who is also a member of the Swakopmund Junior Town Council, encouraged other young people to make use of public speaking platforms to make their voices heard.

“Everybody has that glimpse of what they can do, but they always need that final push. You can’t wait for somebody to push you. You have to stand up and be that final push for yourself. Sometimes people won’t like you because you’re doing what’s right for yourself. At the end of the day, not everybody’s opinion matters. You need to be smart about it and use the right opinions,” he said.

Other speakers posted videos of their speeches on the Scribing Dynamics Publishing page after the event.