Young Zimbabweans have been called on to enter this year’s DStv Eutelsat Star Awards competition, an international essay-writing and poster-designing contest that has in the past been won by Zimbabwean students.
Liz Dziva, publicity and public relations manager of MultiChoice Zimbabwe, said the organisers were calling on entries from students aged between 14 and 19 years of age for the 2017 competition, again focused on stimulating an interest in the use of satellite technology to enhance African lives.
“This is a competition that is open to young people across Africa, and is one in which Zimbabweans have had particular success over the past few years, with winners and runners-up in the two different sections of the event,” she said.
“The competition is a collaboration of MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat, partners since 1999 and which jointly launched the annual DStv Eutelsat Star Awards poster and essay competition in 2010. It is aimed at encouraging young people across Africa to focus on the benefits to the continent of satellite technology and to think about careers in science and technology. There have more than 5 000 entries from all over the continent to date and Zimbabweans have entered in large numbers since the first competition in 2011.”
For the 2017 competition essay and poster designs this year must be based on the following topic: “ It’s sixty years since the first satellite – Sputnik – was launched, sending out the unique and well-known ‘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 competition is judged at national and international levels, with winners and runners-up in both categories at both levels. Selected by a jury from what is again likely to be thousands of entries from across the continent, the overall international essay winner will be eligible for a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to Paris to visit Eutelsat satellite facilities and thereafter to travel to the Caribbean to view a rocket being launched into space. The winner’s school will receive a DStv installation, including a dish, TV, decoder and free access to the DStv Education package. The winner of the poster section will win a trip for two to MultiChoice’s offices in South Africa and thereafter to the South African Space Agency at Hartbeesthoek. The winner’s school will win a DStv installation, including a dish, TV, decoder and free access to the DStv Education package.
“This competition is open to all secondary-level students with an appetite for technology. Entry forms are now available any MultiChoice office, while copies also can be downloaded from www.dstvstarawards.com.”
Entries are accepted in English, French and Portuguese and will be judged on the basis of high-standard criteria of accuracy, creativity, originality and innovation. The competition closes on February 12 and winners will be named at a ceremony held by the end of April. Entrants can view a documentary on satellites, called The Magic Circle, at the dstvstarwards website.
Essays should be between 1 200 and 1 400 words in length, while poster entries should be of A1 size.
“The competition stemmed from a view by MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat that science and technology education should help young minds in their quest to positively change their world,” said Ms Dziva.
“It’s now in its seventh successive year of running and this joint initiative has inspired innovative thinking among a new African generation. This pan-African collaboration has created a meaningful engagement with students, the academic community and the scientific world and what has been very exciting has been the fact that, since the start of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards competition in 2011, thousands of students have taken part in this unique competition.
“We look forward to entries coming through from all over the country, so that we can see the wealth of talent we have in this country doing themselves proud and also giving pride to their parents, schools and the community at large.”
The 2014 international essay winner was then 18-year-old Joseph Mahiya of Hellenic International Academy in Harare, while the following year’s international poster winner was then 19-year-old Mallon Marume of Mutare Boys’ High School. Each year there have been winners at national level, all of whom have received prizes from the competition organisers. Other winners have come from Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.