Amos Mumbere from Ntare school in Uganda has won the essay Category at the 7th edition of the DSTV Eutelsat Star Awards organised by Multichoice Africa and Eutelsat in Kampala, the Ugandan Capital.
Rasheed Taher from Al-Madrasa-tus-Saifya-tul-Burhaniya School in Tanzania added to the East African tally as he was announced winner in the overall poster category.
The judges lauded the essay for its simple and eloquent style as it demonstrated an understanding of the application of satellite technology and the role that sputnik played in launching human kind into the 21st Century. The winning poster was also adjudged to show a deep understanding of the level of ingenuity in using mirror imaging to demonstrate the rapid transformation of satellite technology.
Also, the winner in the poster category will be rewarded with a trip along with a parent/legal guardian to visit the South African National Space Agency and MultiChoice facilities. The two winning schools attended by the overall winners will be rewarded with a DStv installation including a dish, TV set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Package.
For the 7th edition, students from secondary (high) or combined schools were asked to write a creative essay or design a poster based on the topic: “It’s sixty years since the first satellite, Sputnik, was launched, broadcasting a unique and easily captured ‘beep, beep, beep’ signal. Looking back at this historic moment, write an essay or design a poster depicting how satellites have launched humankind into the 21st Century and acted as a unifier.”
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, Paolo Nespoli, who returned for the fourth time as chairman of the jury was assisted by a panel of industry experts that included Professor Funso Falade (Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos); Country Manager, ICDL Africa, Mr. Michael Niyitegeka, Deputy Regional Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat, Mr. Patrice Paquot, as well as Ms. Patricia Kiconco (Head of Operations, MultiChoice Uganda).
Commenting on the entries, Nespoli said “The purpose of the competition was achieved! There were almost a thousand entries from young people across the continent and I believe all the students were exposed, involved and excited about science and technology, satellite technology in particular. The finalists showed an exceptional grasp of the subject matter along with a distinct use of creativity and ingenuity. We all were extremely impressed by the calibre of the work we had to judge. As a jury, we were challenged when we had to pick the winners: it was a mammoth task that took an entire day of intense discussions. If it were up to me I would have given the first prize to all the finalists.”
Keynote speaker at the awards ceremony, Ugandan Minister for Higher education, Mr. John Muyingo lauded DStv and Eutelsat.
“I take this opportunity to commend the DStv Eutelsat Star awards team for this initiative that has been held every year since its inception in 2011 and particularly for bringing Paolo Nespoli an astronaut and engineer of the European Space Agency. I would also like to recognise that he is the first astronaut to visit Uganda,” he said.
He added that Nespoli’s visit will inspire the students, especially those interested in the space industry and create hope among them that anything is possible.