A new debate platform ‘Impaka Zubaka’, this week launched its first edition under the topic, ‘Rwandan culture encourages creativity’, with actress Carole Karemera and social media enthusiast and blogger Sunny Ntayombya on the panel.
Ntayombya, who was defending the topic, lost the debate after the audience that had turned up in big numbers, voted Karemera as the winner of the debate.
Karemera was thrilled with the initiative, saying that the platform would be instrumental in bridging public perspectives through debates.
“I am a first time debater but I enjoyed it because it creates space for public opinions to take stage and challenge just like religion. Through the debate, I realised that we are enriched by others’ thoughts and I was so happy that everyone who attended was participating,” she said.
According to Isabelle Umugwaneza, the brains behind Impaka Zubaka and moderator of the debate, the platform was initiated to create an inclusive environment through conducive, open and constructive criticism and discussion on matters of importance to all Rwandans, whereby debaters provide evidence-based and challenging arguments so the audience can form opinions based on facts rather than convenience.
She said, “The idea is to encourage the community to provide analytical and critical facts that can challenge the opposite side’s opinion in an environment driven by argument, rebuttal and consensus from the audience towards a comprehensive conclusion”
“Here you have a new platform which promotes the essence of critical thinking by creating space for people to express their opinions through informal and informative debates. You only need to bring a topic on the table and get ready for supporting and challenging facts about it.”
Umugwaneza, who has no background in debates, except having only attended high school debates, says that she is passionate about them because of the impact they can have on society.
“I am driven by debates and so I thought of creating space for a big number of people to express opinions based on facts and I am convinced more people will join us given the number of attendees we got today.”
“I am happy with how everything went at the very beginning. People enjoyed and everyone was determined to participate. This gives me strength and motivation that more will get interested and come in big numbers during future editions,” she said after the debate.
The monthly debates will be open to all, mainly targeting Rwandan youth between 18 and 35 years of age, with the possibility to address issues that are of concern to an older generation. The audience will be able to propose topics to be debated in the following weeks, thus a small sample of issues of interest to young Rwandans will be recorded over time.
Panelists will debate on topics shaping all aspects of life like culture, society, and entrepreneurship although potential topics will be prioritised during debates will include youth and job market readiness, affordability of housing and gender roles among others.