Earlier this week, at the Vilamoura, Sandton Sun Johannesburg, MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat in collaboration with Mindset Learn saw the first edition of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards draw to an exciting end at a Gala Dinner presided over by the South African Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor. At the event, the Minister encouraged TV channels, stakeholders and big business to engage with governments to see how, where and when they could enhance the participation of youth in marginalized parts of the continent in various science and technology initiatives.
Ugandan student, Mary Musimire came out top in the Best Entry Award category with an essay entry which impressed the judges with its creativity and won a trip for her with her parent/legal guardian to watch a live rocket launch and a visit to Eutelsat in France. The essay was titled “Looking to the sky for answers”. Runner up for the Best Overall Award went to Michael Yeboah from Ghana for his poster and he has won a trip to Eutelsat in France. Merit Award winners are Mauritian student Shanen Ganapathee for second best essay entry and Tofunmi Olagoke from South Africa for the second best poster entry. Both win a trip to South Africa to visit MultiChoice Africa and Mindset Learn’s satellite broadcast facilities.
Out of over 800 entries from across the continent, the final judging panel reviewed 12 finalists’ entries which included Chukwuka Ekweani (Nigeria), Sandile Dube (Swaziland), Kidanemarriam Belew (Ethiopia), Vitumbiko Chingwere (Malawi), Rebecca Nalwanga (Uganda) and Oluwaseyi Oloyede (Nigeria) and commented on the extremely high level of these entries.
The final judging panel members, comprised of Judging Chairman Professor George Smoot, Nobel Prize laureate and Astrophysicist; Dr Phethiwe Matutu, Chief Director South African Department of Science and Technology; Lauren Beukes, novelist and winner of the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award for her novel Zoo City; Nadi Albino, Chief of Education UNICEF and Professor Amadi Ihunwo, Head Morphological Anatomy, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, all agreed that talent among Africa’s students is abounding.
The Awards leveraged off MultiChoice’s Resource Centres which have been established in over 1000 schools across Sub Sahara Africa to provide educational channels such as National Geographic, the History Channel and Mindset Learn to student and teachers via satellite, teachers are trained on how to use this programming to enhance teaching and learning.
From the words of the 2011 DStv Eutelsat Star Awards winner, Mary Musimire from Uganda, she aptly points out in her closing conclusion in her essay that: “Someday in the future, may an African look at the sky and see beyond the stars, may he see cities growing, industries developing and the environment being reborn, the children being fed. May he see satellites further developing Africa!”