Club Contest in JHB and Surrounds

Many brave Toastmasters across the globe are taking up the challenge of competing in the annual International speech contest.
Please support our clubs and members by assisting as a role player (timekeeper, tally counter, judge, contest chair, SAA) or attend as a spectator.
For your convenience, below is a list of club contests taking place in JHB and surrounds.
  • Please contact the relevant organiser for more info on venue, times, costs etc or if you want to volunteer as a role player.

18 February – Westrand club - please contact Kyle 

22 February – Transformers – Please contact Rick Raubenheimer 

23 February – CIS Toastmasters – at Waverley Sports Club  

3 March – Kempton Park Club - please contact Thabo Malefane

3 March – KPMG – please contact Njabulo Thela at

3 March – Rivonia club – please contact Judith Taylor at 

8 March – Egoli - please contact Sheryl at ​

9 MarchBenoni Toastmasters – please contact Mark Eifler at 

10 March – Afrikaans club – please contact Adri Rothman ​at

10 March – Sandton & Morningside clubs – please contact James at ​ 

10 March – The Sages – please contact Cathy Angus on

10 March – Rosebank Toastmasters – please contact Maliile at

12 March – Bryanston Breakfast club – please contact Bryanston VPE on

12 March – Modderfontein Breakfast club – please contact Karen at ​

14 March – Honeydew club – please contact Rowene at

23 March – Bedfordview club – please contact Laureen Mutch at

23 March – Johannesburg club – please contact Luis de Sousa at

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Time is of the essence (CC2) by Craig Sacks

Sometimes we have too much time. We take things slow. There’s no rush. We say things like “I’ll do that tomorrow” and “why do tomorrow’s work, today?”. We watch TV for that extra hour, we sleep just a little later and we mark that email unread for tomorrow.

Sometimes we’ve run out of time. Everything is a rush and a whirlwind. We say things like “I wish I had more time” and “if only I had gotten started a little earlier”. We slap together whatever we have, we drive like a lunatic on the road and we apologise for being late.

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. Procrastinators love instant gratification. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things instead of less pleasurable ones.

Do you remember sitting in matric English class? The teacher was explaining your latest assignment due in two weeks time. You were so smug, this was going to be real easy. You were sitting in the shade of the tree next to the tuck shop, laughing with your friends at how silly this assignment is and how you are going to class just so that you can collect you’re “A”. Do you remember how you kept putting off doing the work, there were so many things to do. You finished that 5000 piece puzzle and you knitted that jersey you will need for next winter. Then you got that sinking feeling, it’s 6 o’clock, the night before the due date and you have to pull an all-nighter to get the work done. You got whatever you could together and told yourself that marks aren’t that important, there’s more to life than an English assignment.

Research has shown that up to 20% of adults report being chronic procrastinators. That number could have been higher if most of the procrastinators had actually gotten round to filling in the survey.

Procrastination can also have negative health effects. When stressed, our bodies release a steroid hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is known to interfere with learning and memory, lower your immune function, and is linked to increased risk of depression and generally lower life expectancy. We’ve all felt that stress, when your stomach is tied in a knot, you feel the hair on your arm stand up and you have that nervous swallow.

Is pre-crastination the solution? pre-crastination, is the urge to start a task immediately and finish it as soon as possible. As soon as that email arrives, you bang off a reply. You write that toastmasters speech two weeks before you give it over. For the pre-crastinator, progress is oxygen, postponement is agony, distraction is the enemy.

When tackling complex tasks, one needs creativity. Is one more creative when procrastinating or when pre-crastinating? An experiment was set up at the University of Wisconsin. Two groups of people were tasked with coming up with a new business idea. One group was told to start immediately, the other group was told to play solitaire for 5 minutes and then start. The business ideas were rated and the procrastinator’s ideas were judged to be 28% more creative. Why? Because pre-crastination can stifle creativity and suck up the oxygen that an idea needs to breath. Sometimes ideas need to percolate. You might go back to your toastmasters speech which you wrote two weeks ago and say “what on earth was I thinking, who would write such nonsense?”

As with most things in life, it’s about balance. Too much procrastination can mean more stress and failed potential. Too much pre-crastination can mean still born ideas and stifled creativity.

At the end of the day the job needs to be done, how do you avoid the destruction of procrastination? Here are a few tips:

  • Imagine the consequences of you failing spectacularly and that anxiety might get you into gear.
  • If you’re procrastinating because you are disorganized, set yourself time bound tasks and an action plan. Keep a to do list.
  • If you are finding the project overwhelming, break it up into smaller pieces and start with the easy tasks first. Small victories go a long way.
  • Remember that the task is probably not as unpleasant as you imagine. Give it a try, you might find that it’s not so bad.
  • Lower your standards for progress and perfection. Perfectionism is an unattainable trap.

My fellow toastmasters, I had a very busy weekend. I built a model airplane, I watched the super bowl, I read war & peace and I solved a Rubik’s cube. I was so busy. I must admit that I ran out of time and I couldn’t write a conclusion for this speech. I, as a seasoned procrastinator, would tell you, in the bigger scheme of life, is a conclusion really that important?

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1026 – 09 February 2016

CIS Toastmasters on the up and up!!

CIS Toastmasters held its 1026th meeting at the Waverly Sports Club. This year’s record audience of 30 people was treated to four prepared speeches and an educational which was delivered by Kazik Blonski. Kazik spoke about the value of goal setting. The year 2016 has seen the club attract an unprecedented number of visitors to its meetings which bodes well for the continued growth and sustainability of this great club.

The President opened the meeting and handed over control to the evening’s Toastmaster, Rob Douglas. Thando, a visitor, carried out the role of the evening’s Grammarian with Ephraim acting as the Uhm counter and Cyril Chessex as the general evaluator.

The four prepared speeches ranging from CC1 to CC3 were delivered by Avigail (The Interview of a Lifetime – CC1) and Craig Sacks (Time is of the essence – CC2), Ipelo Gasela (Who am I? – CC1) and Thato Radebe (Love languages – CC3). Avigail was awarded the evening best prepared speaker award. Craig kept the room in stiches as he explained the difference between pre-and procrastination. Ipelo kept the audience engaged when she revisited memories of her first, second and third visits to the City of Johannesburg, her love of food and how she came to love the art and science of baking.  Prior to Ipelo, Avigail had kicked off the evening with a speech laden with twists and turns, religiosity, the meaning of life and the value of family. A fitting demonstration of how a CC1 should be put together. Thato spoke about love in the only way she knows how inserting herself in her speech and dispatching pearls of wisdom to the men in the room.


Best prepared speaker: Avigail Sacks

Table Topics was chaired by Michael Silberman. Warren Sithari walked away with the best Impromptu Speaker of the evening. Alon Davidow and Rob Douglas were the best evaluator and the evening’s Toastmaster respectively.


Best Impromptu Speaker: Warren Sithari


Toastmaster of the evening: Rob Douglas


Best Evaluator: Alon Davidow

The next meeting will be held on the 23rd of February 2016. This will not be a regular meeting but a contest, The International Speech and Evaluation Contest as CIS as always tries to unearth a worthy representative to continue flying the flag.

Please come support your fellow toastmasters. See you all at the next session and thank you for helping the club assist members in achieving their communication and leadership goals.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1025 – 26 January 2016

CIS Toastmasters hosted its 1025th meeting on the 26th of January 2016. The President, Michael Silberman opened the meeting and welcomed all the guests. a total of 8 guests walked into what is fast becoming an incubator of aspiring public speakers in the Johannesburg area.

Nomaswazi Tinus did a sterling job as the evening’s Toastmaster.


Toastmaster of the evening: Nomaswazi Tinus

Three prepared speeches were delivered by Craig Sacks (CC1), Julian Blonski (CC4) and Cyril Chessex (CC5). Their speeches were titled, 1. remember to follow through, 2. The ultimate human race, and 3. Lasting longer, respectively. Craig talked about the value of following through on one’s commitments which has earned him build a wonderful family. Julian took us through a grueling comrade marathon experience. A wonderful speech which took us into the mind and body of an ultra-marathon runner. Cyril closed-off the prepared speeches session with a refreshing and funny rendition of a CC5. For his efforts, Cyril proudly took home the best prepared speaker award.


Best prepared Speaker: Cyril Chessex

The visitors got a chance to participate in the Table Topics session with Ipelo and Florence and Avigail giving their first impromptu speeches at the club with Michael and Linda completing the line-up. Avigail was awarded the best impromptu speaker trophy.


Best Impromptu Speaker: Avigail Sacks

Billy Radebe was the general evaluator for the evening with Puleng Lephondo and Christine Kwok executing the roles of grammarian and uhm counter respectively. The word of the day was ‘Impeccable’. Rob Douglas who was evaluating Cyril’s speech took away the best evaluator trophy.


Best evaluator: Rob Douglas

All in all a great meeting, a healthy attendance of visitors and as always CIS proving to be the quintessential club.

The next meeting will be on the  9th of February 2016.

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Rob Douglas Presidential Citation Award – Celebration Video at CIS Toastmasters

CIS Toastmasters joined in the celebrations for Rob Douglas’ Presidential Citation Award. The celebrations were hosted at the Waverly Sports Club on the 20th of October 2015.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1024 – 12 January 2016

CIS Toastmasters held its first meeting of 2016 on January the 12th 2016. 27 people graced the meeting with a fair turn-out of guests and visitors alike. The President, Michael Silberman opened the meeting with a fitting quote as people start with their new year’s resolutions. “Someone once told me not to bite off more than I can chew, I told them I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity“. The quote set the tone for what was to be a great evening of 6 prepared speeches including 3 advanced deliveries.

Ms. Thato Radebe kicked off the evening with her CC2 speech titled, The Addiction to Conforming. A great speech well beyond her years but a reminder that the country is in good hands as long as it continues to produce great future leaders of Thato’s caliber. Julian Blonski followed with a CC3 speech titled, El Nino – The devastating effect of the current drought. The speech was well received as it served to remind the audience not to take fresh water for granted and to conserve this limited resource. Julian layered his speech with great humour particularly on tips to save this precious resource including more communal showering activities. The last speech from the prepared speeches was delivered by Christine Kwok. The title of Christine’s speech was Shaken not Stirred which paid tribute to the author of the James Bond stories, Ian Fleming. She finished off her speech with a great quote fitting of what Toastmasters is about. ‘Never say no to adventure’. For her efforts Christine walked away with the best prepared speaker of the evening.

The speakers for the advanced speeches session were Billy Radebe, Judith Taylor and CIS’ bright spark Ms. Linda van Deventer. Billy titled his speech Takers and explained that life in essence is about giving and taking with the latter seemingly more dominant. Billy’s speech was entertaining. Judith gave a short talk which was a presentation of a floating trophy, The Bright Spark Award which Linda duly accepted. CIS Toastmasters is very proud of the service Linda provides to the club and Toastmasters at large for it is from her industry that the club continues to prosper. Well done Linda, you are an inspiration to all of us who aspire to serve this great organization.

The impromptu session followed, presented by the colourful Mr. Kazik Blonski. Kazik picked on the visitors, John, Bonke and Queen. The visitors took on the challenge with aplomb. Queen’s task was to tell the audience what makes her smile. She took us through her day job which brings about positive change to people living with HIV and Aids. For her efforts, the room voted her the best impromptu speaker of the evening. A great accolade for any visitor to receive.

Other notable contributors to the success of the evening were, Mr. Rob Douglas who served as Grammarian and gave the room the work of the day, Castigate. A great word that almost all the speakers could use.  A great lesson on how to pick a world that allows everyone to participate. Nomonde Booi performed the role of General Evaluator, with CIS’ new member Ebrahim doing a sterling job as the Uhm counter. Colbert Nengovhela was the evening’s Toastmaster. Cyril Chessex took home the evaluator of the evening award.


Judith Taylor presenting Linda van Deventer with the Bright Spark Award


The President, Michael Silberman with the evening’s Toastmaster


Best evaluator award went to Cyril Chessex


Our visitor, Queen Makwela took home the best impromptu speaker award


Christine Kwok was honoured with the best speaker of the evening trophy

All in all the evening was a great success. A good start to the new year with the club aiming to re-energize itself by recruiting new members to take this great club forward.

The next meeting is scheduled for the 26th of January 2016. CIS looks forward to seeing you all there.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1023 – 01 December 2015

We had our very last meeting for 2015 last night and what a wonderful meeting it was. We were lucky enough to have as our guests, Division Director Lazola Belle as well as Thando Shabalala from Rosebank Toastmasters and Bruce Stewart from Westrand Toastmasters as our guests.
The prepared speaking session kicked off with a superb CC2 by Warren Sitari. Warren speech was all about lost and found, and the need to loose ourselves in order to find/discover ourselves, it was a very cleverly crafted speech with lots of hidden meaning and an occasional burst of humour, very thought provoking indeed! Then it was over to our Guest Thando Shabalala with a magnificent example of what a CC4 should look like or should I say sound like.
Very vivid images of Thando struggling to dig his car out of the sands in the Western Cape and Mozambique from not being adequately prepared for the challenges he was about to face. The message could not have been clearer, “Life is a Patient and Painstakingly Persistent Teacher” and it teaches us that if we don’t properly prepare for life challenges, then we will find ourselves in more then a spot of bother. Billy Radebe was up next with a very funny personal story about the relationship between husband and wife, Billy’s great line was “If a man says he will fix it, he will fix it, there is no need to remind him every six months” Lol! Next up was Bruce Stewart with a “Prepared Impromptu Speech” Selected by his Evaluator Lazola Belle entitled “Frustration” Bruce kept us entertained with stories of being stuck in traffic and the immense frustration that it can cause. His advise to us all was to take control of this frustration by getting up a bit earlier and giving ourselves a bit of extra time to reach our destinations, rather then rushing at the last minute.
Congratulations to Bruce Stewart for winning our Prepared Speaking Session

Cyril Chessex was the Toastmaster of the evening and did a sterling job, explaining the process of the evening very clearly to the guests

One of our guests Ibrahim all the way from Egypt showed us how it was done with a very funny impromptu speech and took the honours for the table topic prize.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1022 – 17 November 2015

CIS Toastmasters met for the 1022nd time at the Waverly Sports Club, 126 Stirling Road. Seventeen (17) people attended the meeting. Five speeches were delivered, 2xCC2, a CC5, CC8 and an advanced speech.

Sibu Xaba kicked off the evening with a CC2 speech titled, Challenges faced by African Banks. The speech was well received. Michael Silberman followed on with a well crafted humourous CC8 speech titled, “If an Alien came to visit”. This was a good display of how to use visual aids. Julian Blonski (Dream, Explore, Discover) and Alon Davidow (Conquering fear with your eyes closed) delivered their CC2 and CC5 speeches respectively with Billy Radebe (I am a man) closing off the evening.

The table topics session was chaired by Puleng Lephondo. The theme for this segment was wrapping up the year” with titles ranging from Highlight of the year, toastmaster journey in 2015, one lesson learnt and one memory you will most like to forget which was delivered by Nomonde who was in the end voted the Best Impromptu Speaker.


All the speakers who delivered their CC speeches were successful. Michael and Alon tied for the best prepared speaker of the evening.

Alon and Michael

Linda van Deventer was the evening’s Toastmaster. Kazik Blonski took home the Best Evaluator of the evening.


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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1021 – 03 November 2015

CIS Toastmasters held its 1021 meeting last night.
It was a meeting of new beginnings with 3 new members beginning their Toastmasters Journey with some very entertaining CC1’s.
Vivek Madhav took us on an intrepid journey across the world following his development as a star cricketer and more recently to the travel bug which he has caught and which has taken him to the sunny beaches of Brazil and soon to Vietnam, we look forward to hearing more stories from his travels. Then it was over to Julian Blonski “The Son of a Toastmaster” who described what it was like growing up as the son of the now famous Toastmaster and Club Treasurer Kazik Blonski. He also told us about his love for running and some major marathons which he has completed. We also got to meet Julians Fiancé Lisa and wish them both congratulations for their up coming wedding.
Running was a theme that ran quite strongly through these speeches for when Julian handed the proverbial baton over to Sibusiso Xaba. We were to meet yet another runner. Sibu gave us the winning speech of the evening, inspiring us with his passion for running. We were all very taken in by Sibu’s description of how he felt when he runs and how running takes him to a very magical place. We were all keen to put on our running shoes after these two speeches. Then it was over to Alon Davidow with an insightful and highly entertaining speech on how to conquer your fears with your eyes closed. We were all very gripped by frightening experiences of bungy jumping and sky diving. Our Toastmaster Christine Kwok handled the job like a pro, adding some insightful feedback and comments in between the speeches. Then it was over to Rob Douglas who took the reins as Table Topics Master and stirred a very interesting discussion/debate regarding the recent student protests about university fees. It was great to hear differing perspectives, especially those coming from some student visitors and in fact Aviwe Mgoqi (Student and Visitor) took the prize for the best impromptu speech.
Congratulations to Sibu Xaba for winning best Prepared speaker of the evening

Congratulations to Puleng Lephondo for winning best Evaluator

 Congratulations to one of our Guests Aviwe Mgoqi for best Impropmtu Speaker

Thank you to Christine Kwok for a sterling Job as Toastmaster of the evening
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CIS Toastmasters held its 1020th meeting on the 20th of October 2015. The meeting was simply titled, Tribute to Rob Douglas, DTM PDG in honour of Rob’s Presidential Citation Award received in Las Vegas in August 2015. CIS enjoyed its best attendance at its new venue with 71 guests, yes seven one. As a testament to the contribution Rob has made to Toastmasters and District74 in particular, the list of guests included the District Director Paul Jensen, Eric Kaila, Eric Viedge, Njabulo Thela, David Preece, Keith Bowen, Karen and Richard Armour, Sandra Cooper and Division L Director Lazolla Belle amongst others. Toastmasters flocked from as far as Harare, Centurion and Emalahleni to pay tribute to Rob.

The club President, Mr. Michael Silberman opened the meeting before Kazik Blonski stepped up to assume the role of the evening’s Toastmaster. The other stars of the evening were the prepared speakers, Thato Radebe, Warren Sithari and Lee Roebeck. Thato and Warren delivered their CC1s with Lee delivering his CC8. All prepared speakers were successful in their attempts to move to the next level. Thato at only 18 years of age, demonstrating the impressive pipeline that CIS Toastmasters has, titled her speech, “Armed and Dangerous”. As if the room only had 7 instead of 71 people, she delivered her speech with absolute poise and grace well beyond her years. As Thato unleashed quote after quote, the audience was left agape. With her proud dad in the audience she went on to say that she plans to continue making mistakes and learning from them as she has successfully done in the past. The fact that she is still alive is testament that she has everything she needs. As she walked off the stage she had time to squeeze in a One Direction quote, “dreams are like stars. you may never touch them, but if you follow them, they will lead you to your destiny.”

After the incredible Thato left the stage, up stepped Warren to also deliver his CC1, well at least that’s what it said on paper. After his was done, some members of the audience had their hands on their heads in shock at the quality of his speech titled Me, Myself and I, a delivery well beyond CC1 level. Warren spoke about having an a ssignment he had to complete in 72 hours after having procrastinated for 7 months. The speech was hilarious, it was insightful and confronted the audience to look within themselves as they were reminded of the contracts we, as humans sign with ourselves from time to time and that at the end of it all it is up to no one but me, myself and I to live up to the commitments made. On this day, October the 20th 2015, a star was born, its name, Warren Sithari. Lee Roebeck wrapped up the prepared speaking session with a CC8 titled “In a state of fun”. We were taken on a ride through different provinces on a bike he demonstrably adores. As usual, Lee delivered punchline after punchline which left the audience in tatters.

The main act of the evening, Mr. Rob Douglas was then called up by the District Director to receive his numerous awards. With his family in the audience it really was a special evening for a special man who has selflessly served the course that is Toastmasters since 1983. In his response, Rob took us down memory lane, relaying stories of all the 34 clubs he has helped form, the clubs that failed, some dismally but more importantly the lessons learned from the process and the clubs that still stand proud today.

All in all, it was an evening of fanfare, great speeches, a congregation of some of District74’s most distinguished Toastmasters. What a fitting place to celebrate such a legend. CIS Toastmasters remains Rob’s home club. Although he has travelled the world in his Toastmaster’s journey he has always returned to the club he joined some 32 years ago. From all of us at CIS, we couldn’t be more proud to have amongst our member list, a Toastmasters legend in Mr. Rob Douglas. Congratulations. You have made us as a club proud; you have proudly flown the flag for Distric74 all these years. Toastmasters, Where leaders are made.



These photos are courtesy of JP Gernaat


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