2015 World Champion of Public Speaking

Congratulations to the 2015 World Champion of Public Speaking

Mohammed Abdullah Qahtani, D79 – Saudi Arabia 

2nd Place: Aditya Maheswara, D49 – India
3rd Place: Manoj Vasudevan, D80 – Singapore

What’s so amazing and so inspiring is the new Champ was born mute and did not speak a single word until he turned 6.
2015 champs
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Colbert Nengovhela – Palms sweaty, knees weak, arms heavy (CC10)

On the 16th of July 2013, I stood here to deliver my very first speech titled ‘Unlucky 13 and rediscovering the meaning of life’. As I walked towards the lectern, I could feel my palms becoming sweaty, knees getting weak and my arms heavy. My opening line was….

This has by far been the worst year of my life and hopefully, ever.

When my 6 minutes were up, I thanked the audience and walked back to my seat accompanied by a rousing applause. It felt good.

As I walked back to my seat I started thinking about the reasons I had decided to join toastmasters. I was truly having the worst year of my life and I needed an audience to share my pain. Writing about my pain felt like the only thing I could do at the time. My life was falling into pieces. I had no place to stay, no sense of direction; I watched as the life I had known for a decade went up in flames. I was completely lost. Life was finally having its way with me. My joy ride was over.

Coming to Toastmasters reinvigorated my life. It gave me a second chance; a renewed sense of purpose. Here I was surrounded by strangers who wanted me to succeed; Win or lose these people, these strangers were prepared to applaud and say well done for trying. Well done for having the courage to get up and speak.

Over the following two years I was to watch as the building blocks of my own life started to take shape. Like the phoenix, my new life arose from where my previous one had burnt to ashes.

I watched as my life started to magically transform. I suddenly had a spring in my step. Memories of the life I had lead started to fade into the distant horizon. As I delivered my second and third speeches, I could feel a new me emerging from within. I could feel my potential taking on a new form. I was asked to repeat my CC2 and my CC4. But this didn’t detract me from my goal, my goal was never to get to CC10, I had a bigger goal, that goal was to rebuild my life, one brick at a time, to rediscover the meaning of life, to regain a sense of purpose.

When I delivered my CC4, keeping up with the Kenyans, I had spent two months at home recovering from a double-knee surgery. In all that time I kept wondering if I was ever going to run. Through the power of imagination, I saw myself in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, running amongst the greatest marathon runners in the world. Little did I know that it was going take two more years, one more operation and endless rehabilitation before I could run again. Today when I run I think back to those days when I couldn’t move my legs and yet I couldn’t stop my mind from running. And whenever I was in doubt, I would go to Toastmasters and listen to inspirational stories from fellow toastmasters.

By the time my CC5 came along, my life was firmly back on track, I felt happy, I had rediscovered my inner child. I decided during that time that I was going to watch all the Superhero movies ever made. I needed to feed my inner child. Spider Man, Batman, Superman. I had so much energy I was bouncing off walls, I felt invincible like the protector of Gotham City. I felt like I could stop a moving train with my bare hands. I started to believe I could fly. Toastmasters was having its way with me and I was loving every moment.

I came here looking for an audience to listen to my story. It was never about learning how to speak to an audience. Little did I know when I signed up that by the time Ralph Smedley was done with me I would be able to walk tall with my head held high like it was hanging on pieces of string. I didn’t know that I was going to learn how to balance confidence with humility, compassion and restraint.

When I came here my life was falling to pieces. Through this journey I have learnt great lessons, I have formed amazing friendships, and have had the most inspired conversations. In the process I have grown in ways that I could never have imagined. Every journey begins with a single speech. Toastmasters saved my life. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose. It reminded me of the beauty of life. Through this programme, I learnt how to soar to new heights. Now I believe I can fly. So the year is 2015, and this has been by far the best year of my life. My palms are still sweaty, knees weak and arms heavy, but now I believe I can touch the sky.

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In Celebration of Women’s Month

The meeting was graced with a surprise visit from our omnipresent Division L Director, Lazolla Belle who gave an inspiring Toast to TMI. The President, Michael Silberman welcomed all the guests including the Club’s new member, Ivy, before Madam Toastmaster, Gladys Tlou took full control of the gavel. Four speeches were delivered, two CC7s, a CC10 and one advanced speech. Puleng Lephondo entertained as she held down the Table Topics Master Role. All her topics were about women in honour of the contributions these big-hearted loving beings continue to make. Rosina Malebatja was the evening’s grammarian and chose the word Feminist which ushered in the evening’s first prepared speech.

‘Moving South African women forward’, was a beautifully crafted speech delivered by Swazi Tinus who took us through the struggles of South African women from days gone by to today’s times. Like the women of 1956, Swazi marches on to CC8. This was followed by Lee Roebeck’s speech titled Moulin Rouge which celebrated the beauty of women in a somewhat different yet entertaining way. Lee had the audience in stitches as he took us through the street of Paris and the night life that it offers. Through his speech we were reminded that you are never too old to enjoy the finer things in life. Lee now looks forward to his CC8. Based on the sneak previews, his CC8 is sure to indeed be visually stimulating.

Colbert Nengovhela then followed with what was essentially a speech aimed at motivating those who wish to join Toastmasters as he took us through the journey he has traveled in his two years as a member of Toastmasters from delivering his first speech with sweaty palms, weak knees and heavy arms. Now like the Night’s Watch, his CC manual has ended. Linda closed off the prepared speeches session with a praise speech titled Mr. Toastmaster Southern Africa. She took us into the amazing life of Mr. Joe Garneson who by the sound of things must have been one dedicated Toastmaster and connoisseur of the English language. A point Linda drove home when she referred to his use of the words insert and extract members into the room during competitions. After the speech the District Director commented that he suddenly felt like he missed Joe. Given that he never met the man, this was testament to the picture painted by our fabulous Vice-President Education. Well done Linda and thank you for the education. Most of us never met Joe but if his dedication is anything close to Linda’s he must have been a truly special gift to the organization.


Best Table Topics Speaker: Rosina Malebatja


Best Evaluator: Cyril Chessex


Madam Toastmaster: Gladys Tlou


Best Prepared Speaker: Colbert Nengovhela

“When I came here my life was falling to pieces. Through this journey I have learnt great lessons, I have formed amazing friendships, and have had the most inspired conversations. In the process I have grown in ways that I could never have imagined. Every Toastmaster journey begins with a single speech. Toastmasters saved my life. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose. It reminded me of the beauty of life. I learnt how to soar to new heights. Now I believe I can fly. So the year is 2015, and this has been by far the best year of my life.”

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A message from Toastmasters CEO – Daniel Rex

Leadership and Integrity

Core values are a small set of timeless guiding principles that are essential to an organization. Toastmasters International’s values are: Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence. The entire Toastmasters program depends on the integrity of each member; that is why it is our first core value.

For example, 28,357 Competent Communicator certificates were awarded during the 2014–2015 program year. Does the organization know with certainty that these speeches were given? No. We believe the member gave the speech based on each club vice president education’s certification.

The vast majority of members hold fast to our values, but occasionally a few members will trade their integrity for something else. They are willing to not follow the rules due to peer pressure or an overpowering desire for recognition of an achievement.

Each of us has to make a decision at some point: Do I keep my integrity or allow it to breach and go in the other direction? Almost all the time we follow the right path, but occasionally we follow the wrong path.

If you witness something that’s not OK, you’re obligated to speak up. If you don’t do anything about it, then by default you approve of the bad behavior. A common mistake for new leaders is to not have the courage to stand up for their values. I urge everyone to not only maintain their personal integrity, but to realize as a leader that you’re responsible for supporting the integrity of everyone in the group and for calling out lapses.

Also, support people who make the right decisions, even when the consequences might be perceived as failure. It’s better to fail and maintain your integrity than to succeed and lose your integrity.

I invite you to think about situations in which you will exercise our four values. Where might you have a challenge in holding each one? By identifying these situations in advance, you can develop a strategy. Also, ask your fellow leaders to hold you accountable. If they see you struggling, they can support you to do the right thing.

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We are moving!

After 41 years, the winds of change has blown CIS Toastmasters Club into a new venue.

poster - new home 1

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When the lights go out, and darkness takes over, Toastmasters stars take the opportunity to shine as brightly as only CIS Toastmasters can. The 1014th meeting proved to be another eventful, entertaining and electrifying evening. The President opened the meeting with observational commentary on how people all over the world seem to be in a hurry and just as he asked everyone to take a deep breath, to try and slow down and enjoy the natural pace of life, Eskom gave him a helping hand by taking away one more life distraction, light. This brought out the resilience of CIS members as within a nano-second, the room was well lit with candles. Olatunji Pariola, stepped up to seamlessly execute the role of Toastmaster. The grammarian made electricity the word of the day.

Our visitors and guests alike were treated to 4 great prepared speeches as well as a farewell Speech delivered by one of CIS’ flagbearers, Mr. Cathal Gilbert. Of the four prepared speakers, 3 completed their assignments. The three were;

Nick Meyer who completed his CC2 assignment – Well done Nick, we look forward to seeing you get to the point in your CC3

Alon Davidow inspired us to learn to relax as he matched on to CC5 with his award winning composition – Inspiration for Relaxation.

Puleng Lephondo delivered a beautiful and equally emotional speech titled ‘Down Memory Lane’ to complete her CC4. Through words she opened a window into her childhood and invited us to join her as she took a stroll down memory lane. Now she must prepare her body to speak.

As if he had some premonition about the power situation, Cathal spoke about the one trait that makes South Africa and its people great, resilience. He took us back to the time he came to South Africa and his observations as an outsider and how he has witnessed the country continue to demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity and mounting challenges. CIS Toastmasters wishes Cathal all the best as he starts his new life away from what he had come to know in the recent years. May all the greatness you brought to CIS follow you.

For Table Topics, our visitor Warren gave an amazing impromptu speech on ‘The things to consider when you rob a bank’. Witty, funny, current, and just all round brilliance. Every Toastmasters journey starts with a single speech. Warren is well on his way.


The Evaluator of the Evening went to Kazik Blonski


The best Table Topics speaker went to our visitor – Tarryn


Alon Davidow took home the best prepared speaker award


Toastmaster of the evening was Olatunji Pariola

The next meeting will be on the 11th of August at the same venue. CIS would like to announce that after about 40 years at Old Eds the club will be relocating to Waverley Sport Club from the 1st of September. Until then Old Eds continues to be our home.

See you all and all your friends, colleagues and acquaintances at the next meeting. Together we make our club great.

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The new club president Michael Silberman kicked-off the new Toastmasters year by welcoming everyone to the meeting. As always CIS Toastmasters club members never disappoint with their keen spirit, vibrant energy and the commitment to make the club the best it can be.

Spencer Andrews conducted the prepared speeches session with aplomb as the Toastmaster of the evening. The club was honoured to have Keith Bowen, DTM deliver a wonderful speech about taking one step at a time.

The following prepared speakers completed their assignments and will be moving on to the next level

Julie van Zyl completed her CC1 – Well done Julie for taking the first step to becoming a competent speaker

Puleng Lephondo completed her CC3 with her wonderful speech ‘The lies I tell myself’.

Ritesh Ajoodha will be moving on to CC6 after telling us about his every other Tuesday. An entertaining and most humorous visit into the life of a lecturer

Colbert Nengovhela completed his CC9 with the speech titled Life Sentence.

Best Table Topics Speaker went to our beloved IPP – Tebogo Leshabane


Best Evaluator was Chris Harper


Spencer was honoured with the Toastmaster of the evening award


Best Prepared Speaker went to Colbert Nengovhela


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Club Officer Induction – Meeting no 1012, 30 June 2015

30 June 2015. the last day of the toastmasters’ year.

this is the time of year when we say “thank you” to the club officers who served their club and the members during 2014-2015 and welcome in the new club officers for 2015-2016.

Tebogo Leshabane, club president, openend the meeting. Tebogo will take on the role of IPP in 2015-2016 (Immediate Past President)

Toastmaster of the evening was Nico du Plessis, L3 Area Governor for 2014-2015.

Our guest speaker and fellow toastmaster from Randburg Toastmasters club, Mack Rabapane

Trophy winners:
Best evaluator – Kazik Blonski

Best Table topics Speaker – Linda van Deventer

Best Prepared SpeakerS – Nicolas Meyer and Rushil Ajoodha

Special thanks to Luther Feros, incoming Area Director for L3 for 2015-2016 – for conducting the induction ceremony

Tebogo Leshabane hands over presidency to Michael Silberman

CIS Toastmasters Club President – Michael Silberman

CIS Toastmasters Club Officers
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Club Meeting no 1011 – 17 June 2015

“If you have zero in your hands, you have nothing to say – what is it that is going to change your life” Billy Radebe

Due to the 16th being a public holiday, our club meeting was held on WEDNESDAY the 17th of June.

But this is all that was different – because at this meeting we had fabulous speakers,  awesome evaluators and wonderful table topics.

Congratulations to Billy Radebe for successfully completing his CC10 and achieving his Competent Communicator Award – we look forward to your advanced speeches! (wink wink nudge nudge)

Well done to the following speakers who also completed their assignments successfully:
Rushil Ajoodha – CC1 “opportunity always leads to knowledge, not matter what form it appears in”
Mzwandile Ndlovu – CC2 “to succeed, change the status quo 0 do things like others wont – ask yourself – are you being unique enough”
Colbert Nengovhela – CC8
Rosina Malebatja – CC9

Trophy Winners
Best speaker – Colbert Nengovhela
Best Table topics speaker – Rajeen Singh
Best Evaluator – Alan Rosenmeyer
Toastmaster – Michael Silberman



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Southern African Toastmasters District 74 Leaders 2015-2016

d74 cabinet 2015-2016


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