Eutelsat Crowns Two Continental Winners of the 8th Annual DStv Star Awards

The winners of the 8th edition of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards were announced during a ceremony held in Accra, Ghana. Eighteen-year-old Tanaka Chonyera has put Botswana on the map by scooping top honors in the essay category. Nineteen-year-old Priscilla Marealle was announced as the overall winner in the poster category, making it a back-to-back win from Tanzania.

Chonyera’s entry was written in a confident, concise, and factual manner and made for an intriguing, engaging, and educational read. “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,” says Paolo Nespoli, an ESA (European Space Agency) Astronaut who chaired the jury of the Awards. This is what the jury members said about Priscilla’s poster: “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 can be further embraced in Africa to address key continental challenges, such as protection and monitoring of biodiversity, agriculture and mineral resources.”

During her keynote speech at the Awards ceremony, the Hon. Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation said, “It is our ministry’s pleasure to be part of this exemplary initiative by two technology-oriented companies to inspire the learning and application of Science and Technology in everyday activities. Our ministry is at the fore-front of promoting a paradigm shift in the way we approach our developmental issues as a country and more broadly as a continent. Having reviewed some of the topics from previous competitions of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, we feel elated by the myriad of young African minds across our continent that are tasked to use satellite technology to address basic human challenges on our continent.”

This pan-African competition has invigorated a passion for science and technology amongst younger generations and will culminate with an outreach where over 200 Ghanaian students have an opportunity to ask a real-life astronaut questions about outer space. To date, the competition has drawn over 8000 entries across the continent and has over the years created meaningful engagement with students, the academic community and the scientific world. Sixteen overall winners’ horizons have been broadened by the once-in-a-lifetime experiences the competition has afforded them.

The winner in the essay category has won a trip for two to Paris and onwards to a launch site in French Guiana to witness a rocket blast into space in order to place a satellite into orbit. This is Botswana’s first win in the essay category, after producing a runner-up in the poster category in 2016. East Africa continues its dominance of the Awards with 7 overall winners and runner-up’s thus far. The winner in the poster category has won 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.

For this edition, students from secondary (high) or combined schools were asked to write a creative essay or design 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.”

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