Afnan Farhan bin Dzaharudin
On the 9th of August, after academic hours, participants of the World Scholar’s Cup Global Round made final preparations for our flight and gathered at the foyer to take a bus to KLIA. From KLIA, we took a transit flight to Doha, Qatar. Hot air met us as we stepped down the plane to take a bus into the international airport. We arrived at Cape Town on the 10th of August. From stuffy Doha we met the cold winter air upon stepping out of the airport.
We took two vans to our hotel, where the schedule for the next day was discussed and the scholars were allowed to rest for the day while the teachers helped to check in the teams of participants.
Day One (11 Aug. 2017)
No competitive events on that day; just introductions and a bit of exploration. We got up early in the morning, had breakfast, then headed to the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). While things were being prepared inside, we saw other scholars of various nationalities. The number of teams from KYS far outnumbered those of schools from foreign countries. As expected, the bulk of the participants were from around South Africa.
Finally, we were allowed into the hall, and it quickly filled with people and their chatter. After several introductory speeches from the WSC team, we proceeded to the next event; Scholars’ Scavenge. No more seeing your teammates, or schoolmates for that matter, because in this event, teams were formed out of random scholars, resulting in very diverse groups. After the teams had been sorted, we were taken to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront — a harbour — as well as a tourist attraction. Here is where our scavenger-hunt began, as we explored the harbour, malls and attractions there. Towards the evening, we rendezvoused at a bus station, and were transported to a restaurant to have our dinner. At the end of the day we returned to the hotel, having made new friends from around the globe, and prepared for the real competition the next day.
That night, our group paid a visit to Coach Mat Rat’s friends’ home, belonging to a man named Yusuf, situated in a Cape Malay establishment, where we had a scrumptious dinner. For your information, Cape Malays refer to South African Malays of Javanese ancestry, who were first brought to South Africa as slaves. The Cape Malay community is also responsible for the introduction of Islam in the country.
Day Two (12 Aug. 2017)
We boarded a bus to DF Malan High School. After beating the crowd to get into the school, teams identified and moved to their designated rooms for the first competitive event; one we were happy to get over with. Debate. After three gruesome rounds debating against different teams, we received some snacks before the next event started.
That event was Essay-Writing. To make a long story short, it was a brainstorm, write, and hope for the best. After that was over, we got another short break before the Scholars’ Challenge started. One hour, 120 questions, this was where our thorough studying paid off. With three out of four events settled, we returned to the hotel.
Day Three (13 Aug. 2017)
We assembled again at the CTICC hall for the final, most chaotic event — Scholar’s Bowl. Do you want to trust the answers of the teams around you, or your own teammates? Diversity of knowledge – especially general knowledge – is important because of how they relate different subjects and topics to get your team in a twist to figure things out. After the Bowl, and a good lunch, we celebrated in our hearts, for we were done with all the competitive events. We headed to the hotel in the afternoon, and later in the evening we did some sightseeing at the Vincent & Alfred Waterfront.
Day Four (14 Aug. 2017)
A day of relaxation. No WSC events that day because it was the excursion day held by the WSC organizer. We took a tour around Cape Town. Our first destination was the icon of Cape Town, the Table Mountain — a long, flat-topped mountain. We ascended by cable car, and got the chance to take plentiful photos of the astounding view.
In the afternoon we proceeded to the Vincent & Alfred Waterfront to have lunch. We had seafood, fresh from the ocean. Recharged, we then proceeded to take a ferry to Robben Island, once a maximum-security prison, now a museum. The last batch of prisoners had been released a few years ago. This prison holds importance because it has been the prison of many political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, while the apartheid system was still taking place in South Africa. We left Robben Island with more understanding of the prison life, and the history of South African leaders.
We returned to the hotel, excited for the final day of WSC.
Day Five (15 Aug. 2017): The Last Day
The sun shone through our windows; scholars show and closing ceremony. We assembled for the last time at the CTICC for the Scholars’ Show. Many skillful scholars represented their schools in the talent show, from piano-playing to slam poetry, ballet as well as a ukulele performance by our very own Arief Faisal.
After witnessing some amazing performances, came the final, decisive moment; the closing ceremony. Medals and trophies were awarded, and more importantly, we got to know who qualified for the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in the University of Yale. Four out of our six teams qualified for the TOC. We are proud to say that our sole Junior Team for this round had outperformed a majority of scholars in their division.
On the 16th of August, we packed up and headed home.
The scholars participating in the Tournament of Champions, consisting of 15 students will leave for Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut USA in November.