Students from Botswana and Tanzania have been named winners of the 2018 DStv Eutelsat Star Awards competition, which aims at increasing awareness of science and technology among young people across Africa.
In a ceremony in Accra, Ghana, 18-year-old Tanaka Chonyera of Botswana was named continental winner of the essay category while 19-year-old Priscilla Marealle of Tanzania won the continental poster category.
Entries were received from across Africa for the 2018 competition, which was the eighth annual running of the event and which in the past has seen Zimbabwean winners at continental level. Prizewinners in the two categories – poster and essay – are named at national level in each of the countries of entry, and these go forward for consideration for continental prizes.
This year’s national winners from Zimbabwe were named last week; in the essay category, the 2018 winner was Isaiah Marikopo (19) of Allan Wilson High School in Harare, while the runner-upwas Devine Madzima (14) of Dzivarasekwa High School, also in Harare. In the poster category,Munashe Chikuni (18) of Mutare Boys’ High School was named winner, and the runner-up was 14-year-old Malvin Muparutsa, also of Mutare Boys’ High School.
At the continental awards ceremony in Ghana this week, judges said of Tanaka Chonyera’s entry: “It was quite clear that he has cultivated his passion with research and study that has resulted in sound knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.”
Referring to the poster category winner from Tanzania, they said: “The poster was artistically well executed, with imaginative use of mixed media to create visual interest. Consistent with the topic, the poster depicts how satellite technology can be further embraced in Africa to address key continental challenges, such as protection and monitoring of biodiversity, agriculture and mineral resources.”
The pan-African DStv Eutelsat Awards competition has helped invigorate a passion for science and technology among the younger generation across the continent and, over its eight years of existence, has attracted more than 8 000 entries from more than a dozen countries. In the past eight years 16 overall winners’ horizons have been broadened by the once-in-a-lifetime experiences the competition has afforded them.
The continental winner in the essay category wins a trip for two to Paris and then goes on to a launch site in French Guyana to witness a rocket being sent into space to place a satellite into orbit. The winner in the poster category wins a trip for two to visit the South African National Space Agency and MultiChoice facilities in South Africa. The two schools attended by the overall winners are each honoured with a DStv installation, including dish, TV set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Package.
In the 2018 competition, students from secondary schools were tasked with writing a creative essay or designing a poster based on the topic: “Currently, satellites are being used in a variety of ways but there is always room for expansion and growth. Write an essay or design a poster on areas you believe the full potential of satellites has not yet been tapped into or embraced.”
Said Liz Dziva, publicity and public relations manager of MultiChoice Zimbabwe: “We were delighted with the number and quality of entries in both categories from students in Zimbabwe and while we were disappointed not to have any winners at continental level we are thrilled that interest in science and technology is so strong in Zimbabwe and that this competition has helped foster that interest.”