Public speaker to recount brave journey




African News Agency


A MOM of two competing in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest will share her life story of being raised by a blind mother who taught her to become independent, fearless and to chase her dreams. That is what Lucy Ndou of Brackenfell decided to do this year to conquer her fears. Ndou endured being bullied and had to learn from a very young age how to become independent and to never give up. Ndou is not only representing her club, Winelands Toastmasters Club, but also the Western Cape Division E in the Toastmasters District 74 semi-finals for the International Speech Contest. The contest will take place virtually today. If she wins this, she will represent the district at the World Championship of Public Speaking. Ndou is a communications professional, working in public relations and has always loved public speaking. “This year is the year of saying yes to things that made me scared,” Ndou said. For the competition, Ndou is required to package a seven-minute speech, which will be shared virtually. The competition’s theme this year is beyond borders and Ndou’s speech title is “Through my mother’s eyes”. Ndou said her life story being raised by her mother is what will make her speech a success. “Three years before I was born, my mother became blind due to an illness and my father left us when I was just three months old,” she said. “My mother was viewed as an outcast and it was not easy for us living in that small community and in Africa there are many children who grew up under the same conditions such as poverty. “My mother encouraged me a lot and taught me to fight my own battles. “I will speak about the challenges I faced. I started school late at age 8 as I had to look after my mother and I was bullied as my peers were two years ahead of me. “My mother Nomalizo Ngantweni passed away in 2015 after suffering from cancer.” The Toastmasters International Speech Contest began more than 80 years ago with the goal of developing public speaking. It is the largest speech contest, with 30 000 participants from 145 countries. Michelle Williams is the president of the Winelands Toastmasters Club and said they are excited about Ndou’s participation in the contest. “Lucy Ndou has been a proud member since 2019 and currently occupies the office of Treasurer of the Winelands Toastmasters Club in Durbanville,” Williams said. “This is a big deal as Lucy progressed from the Club to Area to Division where she took first place in the division contest. Lucy impressed the judges with a universal message about a mother’s faith in her child and her journey of strength to overcome bullying. “Her speech is wonderfully crafted and authentically and passionately delivered. Her mom would have been so proud of her. “Her fellow Winelands Toastmasters are extremely proud and excited for Lucy, for if she wins this District 74 contest, she will represent our district at the World Championship of Public Speaking.” Ndou’s friend and colleague Amanda Matthee said she was proud of her. Matthee has also been blind since she was a toddler. “I am so proud and excited about Lucy’s participation in the speaking competition and her speech touches on very topical issues such as bullying and disability.”