Good Day Toastmasters and Visitors,

It’s Contest time again! This was yet another great opportunity for the bravest of the brave to show off their talents. Roy Kfir from Morningside Toastmasters acted as our sergeant and opened the floor. He reminded us that this is in fact a contest and not a competition. Do you think this might be because contestants are “contesting” their inner public speaking fears?!

The theme for the evening was “Green” and this theme pervaded into the evening’s programme on green paper (thanks to Marius Grobbelaar our VPE). Carla Sargo, our president asked what the word “Green” means to us Toastmasters? The ideas that were shared were interesting and diverse and ranged from Irish citizens, ecological and environmental associations, the colour of money, as well as the absence of green traffic lights (or any colour for that matter) on our roads these days!

I happened to be sitting next to Shaun Goodbrand and Viv Roney, two members from the West Rand Toastmasters club who sneakily arrived under the pretence of being judges to steal George, our traveling gavel! Luckily for us the rest of their contingent did not show up!

The programme was handed over to Erich Viedge, our contest chairman, who expressed that taking part in a contest is a real indulgence and although it feels challenging to volunteer oneself, it is a truly enriching experience and everyone who is involved is a winner.

Given that we were holding a contest and St Patricks was on the 17th March we needed a special toast to get us underway. Enter Marius with our toast for the evening… a St Patrick’s Day good luck toast!

This started off with him detailing his visit to Blarney Castle in Ireland and how for 4 Euros one has the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone to acquire the gift of the gab. The downside of all this is that the Blarney Stone, holding billions of kisses, has never been wiped down! Fortunately for Marius, he didn’t need to kiss the stone to get the gift of the gab... Instead, he in true fashion, managed to convince some Japanese tourists to kiss the wrong stone!

After all the contestants received their good luck toast:

The International Speak contest began followed by The Evaluation contest and then finally The Impromptu contest! 1. Kirsten Long, our first speaker for the evening, presented her speech entitled “Queasy Stomachs”. Kirsten gave a very honest and real account of her experiences of how life has let her down. She explains how this can serve as a blessing as “a disappointment a day keeps arrogance at bay”. These life experiences also taught her that each person is responsible to take their own dreams seriously as you cannot rely on others to make your dreams come true.

Matthew Hindley then presented his very entertaining piece called “The Message”. Matthew very cleverly showed us that despite the very appealing lives of the superheroes, with all their supernatural powers, he knows that he too possesses his own special qualities. He concluded with his powerful message to all of us, “You are a superhero too – Be yourself”.

2. Our demo speaker in the Evaluation Division was Maciek Szymanski who told us about his experience of moving from Poland to South Africa at age eleven. This presented challenges to himself and his family, such as how to behave at a braai, completing a math’s Olympiad with a dictionary to eventually crossing the language barrier. His parents made the move in order to secure a better a future for their children in South Africa. Maciek spoke comfortably and confidently and gave us a deeper understanding of what it must be like to move to a new country.

Our two evaluators, Kirsten Long and Andrew Timberlake, gave very thorough and complimentary evaluations of Maciek’s speech.

3. Incredible wit and originality was displayed by our quick thinking Impromptu speakers in the next event for the evening. The word for the speeches was “Bar” and the creativity that emerged from such a small word was truly amazing.

Flicka Steenberg impressed us with her diverse range of ideas about the word “Bar”. Jazz and its irregular perambulation of the notes as they move from bar to bar, pole vaulters who carry bars as well bars to measure achievement.

Coralie Rutherford also had a very original angle on the word. She expressed her amazement at how many things were barred in our lives. She cleverly concluded by saying “Bar Barring, what a lovely life that would be!”

Matthew, our final contestant played the role of a drunkard at a bar and expressed his concern at those that drive home drunk. He concluded that we would be better off if we used a cab service and in this way we can “visit the bar, and not break the law.” Thanks Matthew, yet another important message for the evening and another reason to refrain from heading for that second glass of wine if you are driving!

A brief overview of our contestants was delivered by Erich Viedge. What an interesting bunch they are!

Congratulations to our contestants and to the winners!

The results were as follows:

Prepared Speaking:

Second Place: Matthew Hindley

Winner: Kirsten Long


Second Place: Matthew Hindley

Winner: Kirsten Long

Impromptu :

Second Place: Flicka Steenberg

Winner: Coralie Rutherford

Lastly from our President, Carla, a big “Thank You” to

· The brave contestants mentioned above,

· The club members who helped out: Erich, Richard (Area H1 Governor), Danie, Graham, Sue, Jerome, Karen, Marius and Colleen

· The Area H Governor for being present and helping out, Richard

· Our Stand in Treasurer, Tiaan

· The guests from other clubs: Maciek, Roy, Viv and Shaun

· Our visitor, David Black who took part

You are all stars and helped make our contest a great evening.

Judging by the fun had by all, I hope that members will be foaming at the mouth to be a contestant next time round. We should all be competing to not only force us to practice but to better our personal growth and that will filter through to make our club even better!

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Karen Geyser

Member 4th Dimension Toastmasters

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