Kenyan learners missed out on the awards at the 7th edition of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards organized by MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat in Kampala leaving it to Amos Mumbere, a student of Ntare School, who was announced the overall winner in the essay category.
The top poster award was given to Rasheed Taher from Al-Madrasa-tus-Saifya-tul- Burhaniya school in Tanzania.
The top essay from Kenya that was entered in the continental competition was written by Grace Chege of Kianda School while the top Poster was entered by Jeanette Kanyiri of Nairobi International School. The two emerged the top in Kenya from hundreds of entries received from across the country. Both Grace Chege and Jeanette Kanyiri are 17 years of age.
The winning essay was distinguished for its simple yet eloquent writing style as it demonstrated an understanding of the application of satellite technology and the role that Sputnik has played in launching humankind into the 21st century.
Deceptively simple at first glance, to the attentive eye the winning poster reveals a deep understanding of the topic with a level of ingenuity in using mirror imaging to demonstrate the rapid transformation of satellite technology.
Amos Mumbere, the winner in the essay category gets a trip for two to Paris and onwards to a launch site in French Guiana to witness a rocket launch into the space orbit. This is the third win in the essay category for Uganda. The first was in 2011, then 2012 and now 2017 adding to a tally of six previous winners including runner-ups in the poster category.
The winner in the poster category wins a trip for two 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 dish, TV set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Package.
This year’s edition invited the secondary and high-school student to write creative essays 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.”
The chairman of the jury was headed by Paolo Nespoli, European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut and was assisted by Prof. Funso Falade, Faculty of Engineering Dean, University of Lagos; Mr. Michael Niyitegeka, Country Manager, ICDL Africa; Mr. Patrice Paquot, Deputy Regional Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat as well as Ms. Patricia Kiconco, Head of Operations, MultiChoice Uganda.
“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 caliber 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!” Nespoli commented.