USAP Spotlight: Lesedi Chirikuutsi, The Great Debater

“Congratulations to Lesedi from USAP Community School who was a Quarterfinalist, the Best Zimbabwean Speaker, and the 7th Best Speaker in the London Juniors Cup,”  The Instagram page wrote.  I recall the joy and teary eyes viewing the post with my name posted twice on the Zimbabwe National Debate Team Instagram page. This would be the first tournament of my life—one that I will forever remember. 

My name is Lesedi Chririkuutsi USAPCS ‘23. I am currently a Humanities Teaching Assistant at USAPCS.  I recently represented Zimbabwe in the Africa Individual Debate and Public Speaking Championships that was on 24 to 25 February 2024. There, I was the Second Best Debater, Second Best Dinner Speaker, and the Third Best Impromptu Speaker. 

I had a unique experience during my time at USAP Community School. I dived deep into my academics and passion for debate. Despite USAPCS not having a debate club on campus when I was still a student there, I got tremendous support from the community. In the first half of my Lower Six year, I debated alone and whenever I faced setbacks, Mr James and Amai Mano motivated me to maintain a balance between academics and debating. I take pride in my accomplishments and attribute them to the hard work and dedication that I put in. What glowed in me was a spark of passion that gave me a growth mindset. As I studied debate textbooks, watched YouTube videos of the Universities Debating Championships, and participated in many online tournaments, I grew in knowledge, experience, and wisdom. 

In December 2022, I debated the final of the Zimbabwe National Debate League and was invited to join the Royalty Pact Debate Academy (one of the best debate academies in Africa) by the Head Coach of the National Team, Coach Mace. Throughout this whole experience, the USAP Community supported me financially and through their time, listening to my impromptu practices and speeches. My roommates were patient enough to hear me practice every day.  In Upper Six, 2023,  I continued to train, but not alone! I now had a network of friends worldwide and National Team Coaches in the Royalty Pact Debate Academy to help me. In June 2023, the school even allowed me to attend the Royalties Debate Open National Championships, where I became a Finalist.

In the same year, I was honored to be selected as a member of the Zimbabwe National Public Speaking Team. My gratitude goes out to God and the unwavering support of my family, Coach Mace, and other well-wishers. Coach Mace has played a vital role in my success, providing both financial contributions and invaluable guidance that has helped me achieve my dreams. He even sponsored my trip to the Johannesburg Summer Holiday Open Championships in South Africa, where I was named the Second Best Public Speaker in Southern Africa, thanks to his exceptional coaching. 

As I prepare to embark on the next phase of my life in college, I am still learning, reading, watching, and speaking. My biggest aspiration now is to represent my college or university at the World Universities Debating Championships. I am confident that with my hard work and dedication, I will achieve these goals!

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2 thoughts on “USAP Spotlight: Lesedi Chirikuutsi, The Great Debater

  1. Lesedi is a highly disciplined young man and friend. Keep shining and inspiring others around you. Your future is so bright that you need sunglasses !!!

  2. Very inspiring and hardworking young man! Took me back to my days of debate tournaments in high school. We enjoyed debate but Lesedi has taken it to a whole new level. Wishing him all the best in college and beyond!

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