The Spark

Transformers Toastmasters has helped produce another Inspirational Leader: Chamu M’Kombe completed his 10th project from the Competent Communicator manual – the inspirational speech – this evening.

We had a full programme of seven prepared speeches and still squeezed in four impromptu speeches. The theme of the evening was The Spark; open to interpretation by everyone. The Toastmaster of the Evening introduced each of the participants on the programme by sharing what ignites a spark their life and interspersed quotes of what authors and people of note consider to spark inspiration. An example is the author Suzanne Weyn who said: “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

Visiting Toastmaster Goran Radanovic presented a speech in compliance with the 4th project of the Competent Communicator manual that he entitled: The turning point is my life. He spoke of how he learned that life gives back what you give out, after having only tried to take from life, which produced pain.

Tibor Nadj, in compliance with the 5th project in the Competent Communicator manual on learning to use gesture and body language, told of his experiences in Bangkok. His first experience was the care that the people take in their greeting of each other, to the careful way the chaotic traffic functions through mindfulness to finally learning from a monk that the secret of life is in breathing.

Visiting Toastmaster, Ian Bratt from Benoni, wanted assistance in improving his contest speech. His speech entitled And the winner is was about the one word he would like to see removed from language: loser. In any race there can be only one person who comes first, but that does not make the others less significant, they are also-winners.

Keith Bowen completed a project from the Advanced Speaking manual on leading discussions. His panel had each prepared a speech for or against mother-tongue education. Vero Ardies spoke on how mother tongue is the only language in which one can express the depth on one’s heart in a speech in accordance with the 4th Competent Communicator project. Judith Taylor spoke about language as a living means of communicating and expressing culture in a speech to demonstrate use of vocal variety. Chamu M’Kombe inspired his audience to adopt his position on mother tongue education based on the experiences that abound in southern Africa of children whose lives are never fulfilled because their education was hampered by being educated in a language they do not understand. Using both emotion and research he was certainly inspiring and won the Best Speaker award of the evening.

Following a delicious meal Vero provided four people with topics related to the theme of the evening to speak on off-the-cuff. From Judith Taylor we learned of a South African breakthrough in water filtration with the design of a new membrane that will produce potable water from any water source. Mary Byrne spoke of other South African inventions that will soon see the light of day that will make sustainable living more practicable. Tibor entertained us with a tale of the first kitten he brought home of a snowy winter’s night. Goran introduced us to his 6-spark plugged lady.

The evaluations of the prepared speeches were as always insightful and Ian left with some ideas to try in improving his contest speech. Our two guests were very complimentary of the meeting and Goran wants to return to present more speeches at our future meetings.ater source. Mary Byrne spoke of other South African inventions that will soon see the light of day that will make sustainable living more practicable. Tibor entertained us with a tale of the first kitten he brought home of a snowy winter’s night. Goran introduced us to his 6-spark plugged lady

We always welcome guests and there is no requirement to attend a Transformers Toastmasters meeting. Come and find out why others have enjoyed the experience.


Six guest, five prepared speeches and 5 impromptu speeches made for an exciting and full programme on Monday evening, 11th March.

We learned from Vero Ardes that poor communication is the cause of relationships breaking down, both in the workplace and at home. This speech fulfilled the requirements of her second project, which is concerned with the structure of a speech.

Chantal Weisshaupt, also completing her second Toastmasters speaking project, very descriptively told us how music can restore one after the “noise” of a busy day.

Judith Taylor described in wonderful word pictures, vocal intonation and gesture an opera project in which she’d been involved in her youth. The carefully created costumes turned out to be barely suitable for the venue where the performance was staged and only luck prevented the very serious production unraveling into a farcical comedy.

John-Peter Gernaat presented a lifetime award for benefits to humanity to Dr Madan Kataria, founder of Laughter Yoga, for the lives that have been saved and the many other benefits of prolonged voluntary laughter.

Finally Rod Taylor entertained us with visual deceptions in a speech that explained how poorly we can or should rely on our sight for determining truth or reality. See for yourself: in this picture the coke bottle is a chalk drawing of the same surface on which the artist is haunched, but will your eyes accept this?

The impromptu speeches run by Sriram Murali required the speakers to regale the audience with their special connection with a season of the year, drawn at random. We heard about the beauty of spring, snow and a white Christmas in Europe experienced as a child from Africa, filming a tropical cyclone in summer, killing a huge black mamba in autumn and the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Toastmaster of the evening, Keith Bowen, provided the continuity of the evening using the theme of the evening "Harvest" to share a diversity of quotes on the subject.

The evening was social - commented on by our guests, entertaining and educational. We welcome guests and hope to see you at one of our club meetings soon.

Annual International Prepared Speech Contest

Once a year our speakers take special care to prepare their best possible speech and participate in the Club International Prepared Speech Contest. Monday, 25th February saw three of our Toastmasters compete for the honour of being Club Champion. Seasoned Toastmasters Mary Byrne and Rod Taylor were joined by Chamu M’Kombe.

Chamu spoke of the ticking time bomb of unemployment in South Africa and cited an example of a company who was taking the initiative of providing a skill that could then be used in an entrepreneurial way to provide a service and up-skill others in the process.

Mary Byrne spoke of the prophesy of the Popes attributed to Saint Malachy, a 12th-century Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland in which Saint Malachy is said to have described the next 111 Popes beginning with Pope Celestine II (1143–1144). Currently retiring Pope Benedict XVI is the 111th Pope. Following this at some unspecified time is the end of the Roman Church and of Rome. This prophesy has not had the same acclaim as the end of the Mayan Calendar but is as apocalyptic and topical.

Rod Taylor spoke of achieving the impossible. He started by saying that even the proponents of Positive Thinking are turning to caution to say that we must guard against the fanciful in our positive thinking. From his personal experience when he saved himself and a female friend from certain death by an out-of-control oncoming car by “transporting” himself and the friend over a 2½ metre high, impenetrable hawthorn hedge he explained that the improbable or fanciful is possible.

The International Prepared Speech Contest was followed by the Evaluation Contest in which four contestants prepared an evaluation of a speech given by visiting Toastmasters (from Morningside Toastmasters Club, Keelan Naidoo. Keelan gave a speech in honour and praise of Lucas Radebe, soccer hero. We learned everything there is to know about this “chief” in 6 minutes. Four well thought through evaluations were delivered by Rod Taylor, Mary Byrne, Margie Skeen and Sriram Murali.

The second place winners of the evening were:

  • International Prepared Speech Contest: Chamu M’Kombe
  • Evaluation Contest: Margie Skeen

And the winners were:

  • International Prepared Speech Contest: Rod Taylor
  • Evaluation Contest: Mary Byrne

The winners go forward to compete in the Area H3 Contest.

Transformers is a-rockin' and a-rollin'

Transformers speakers cannot be stopped.

Winning the Humorous Speaking Contest was just an apatite-wetter for Matthys Meintjes. He went on to win against the champions of four other Area to be crowned Division H Champion of Humorous Speaking 2012 (this is an unofficial title, but he is a champion nonetheless) on Wednesday evening, 10 October 2012. On Saturday he will face up against the champions of the other Divisions in District 74 to determine who is the best humorous speaker is District 2012.

Veteran Toastmaster, Rod Taylor DTM (several times over), continued the winning streak for Transformers. Impromptu speaking is often a matter of luck: the speaker is given a word or phrase as he or she arrives at the lectern and has less than 30 seconds to begin speaking. If the word or phrase triggers a thought and the bones of speech presents itself in the speaker’s mind, he or she must develop this thought into a speech with opening, body and conclusion as they launch into what he or she hopes is a powerful opening. Being a seasoned veteran, Rod had no difficulty winning the Impromptu Speaking Contest at club level. He then wiped the floor at the Area Contest and on Wednesday showed his mettle when he came first in the Division H Impromptu Speaking Contest. He too is on his way to Cape Town and the annual Toastmasters Mini-Conference to square up against the best from the other Divisions in District 74.

The club is firmly behind our champions and we expect to do well in the District Contests.