Toastmasters is an international organization that comes together to help individuals to master the art of public speaking.
Capital Toastmasters is the first Toastmasters club in Zimbabwe and was founded in 1979. It is the oldest club in Zimbabwe. In 2012 and 2013 the club was recognised as the top club in Southern Africa and has for the past three years been recognised by Toastmasters International as a President’s Distinguished Club, the highest level of achievement any club can attain.
Harare News spoke to Club Growth Director, Edmore B. Gamundani, DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster), about the spread of Toastmasters in Harare and beyond. “Many people are taking interest in Toastmasters because we are at a point as a country where we realise that personal development is critical. When you join Toastmasters you grow in your speaking and leaderships aspects. Also, people learn better in a relaxed environment. The essence of Toastmasters is to create that non-threatening environment where a person can improve their speaking skills,” said Gamundani.
Gamundani added that in order to join Toastmasters simply visit any club and observe. Each club is unique and it’s okay to visit several clubs before you decide on the right club for you.
When you do join you receive a Competent Communicator’s manual which outlines the first ten speeches you will deliver. A key reason you become a better speaker at Toastmasters is because each of your speeches is evaluated by another member of your club. This means that every time you deliver a speech, you get feedback on what you did right, what you could have done better and tips and suggestions on how to improve.
17-year-old Marlon Kamupira is a Form three student at St Faith in Rusape. Kamupira says, “Joining Toastmasters Gavel Club has given me confidence and my English and grammar has greatly improved. It has also helped to develop my leadership skills when communicating with other members of my teams as I was recently appointed junior club president at my school.”
Toastmasters also helps develop leadership skills as members can take on leadership roles within their club. 16-year-old Harare International School student, Tanyaradzwa Matasva talks about how the club has benefitted him, “My motives for joining Toastmasters were to build up my speaking abilities as I was a member of the Debate and Public Speaking club. I also wanted to be a person that is able to speak out and air their views respectfully and with confidence in social situations. Being in Toastmasters has taught me that leaders are made and I stand as an example of leaders produced by the Toastmasters.”
Zimbabwe is in Toastmasters District 74 which includes countries South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi. Regionally Toastmasters’ aim is to provide communication and leadership training to Southern Africa. Last year Toastmasters International president Jim Kokocki visited Zimbabwe to meet with local clubs as part of commemorating the clubs’ 90-year anniversary.
Image: Lloyd Mugabe, District 74 Toastmasters Champion
Image Credit: Toastmasters Zimbabwe