Fire, passion and a dose of good old fashioned political head banging. That's what's in store for delegates at the 2014 edition of the Tomorrow's Leaders Convention, the biggest and most illustrious gathering of young leaders in South Africa today.
For the past seven years the Convention has been pulling together some of the finest young minds in the country, honouring them for their outstanding successes and paving the way for them to reach even greater heights in the future. These young leaders hail from a myriad fields, from commerce and industry to politics, NGOs and many more.
Now the Convention is set to blaze a new trail, pitting some of South Africa's top young political firebrands against each other in a head to head debate that is certain to see the sparks (if not a few chairs) fly.
The protagonists are Dr Bandile Maskuku, spokesperson for the ANC Youth League, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, spokesperson for the newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Adriaan Basson, editor of Beeld newspaper and author of the controversial book Zuma Exposed and Mabine Seabe 11, co founder and director of Youth Lab.
They will be put through their paces by one of South Africa's most consummate compères, Jeremy Maggs, famous for presenting the highly popular quiz show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? In this case, though, the contestants, so to speak, will not be able to “dial a friend”. They will, however, be allowed to “ask the audience,” as the debate will encourage participation from the assembled delegates.
As ANC Youth League spokesperson, Maskulu, needs little introduction: he is the face of one of the most outspoken and high profile political entities in South Africa, an organisation that frequently butts heads with government and is not afraid to make its views on the future of South Africa known to all and sundry.
Ndlozi, for his part, is not only an Economic Freedom Fighter but also a revolutionary intellectual and an eloquent internationalist dedicated to the struggle for economic freedom. He brings with him vast experience as an activist, organiser and agitator against all forms of political, economic and imperialist oppression.
Basson, meanwhile, is a journalist, author and editor of Beeld in Johannesburg. Between 2004 and 2007 he covered the Schabir Shaik and Jacob Zuma trials for Beeld, Die Burger and Volksblad. This experience led to him publishing his second book, Zuma Exposed, in 2012. In 2006 he co-founded Beeld’s investigations unit and the same year he and Carien du Plessis (then from Die Burger) were announced as the inaugural winners of the Taco Kuiper award for investigative journalism for their Bosasa investigation into corruption and fraud at the Department of Correctional Services.
Seabe II, a Co-founder and Director of Youth Lab, is also a freelance columnist currently writing for Eyewitness News. He sits on the National Executive of My Vote Counts, and is a member of the Generation Next Youth Council run by the United States Consulate General (Johannesburg). He is studying towards a BA in Political Leadership and Citizenry.
All in all, then, the debate brings together people with a veritable array of political opinions, insights, beliefs and agendas, just months before South Africans go to the polls in a General election a few months later. The heat will be on, and the atmosphere is bound to be nothing short of electric.