African students reach for the stars


MultiChoice has announced the return of the DStv Star Awards for 2012. The awards take the form of a competition open to 14-19 year old students in 42 countries.

Malawi’s regional marketing manager for the Centre and the North, Titania Katenga Kaunda said that students are invited to write an essay or design a poster depicting how innovative use of satellite technology in the fields of communication, earth observation or navigation can propel Africa into the future.

"Winners at national levels win prizes such as computers or tablet computers and go forward to compete in the overall awards as winner or runner up [in the] essay and poster entries respectively," said Kaunda.

She added that the winning essay recipient will win a trip with a parent or guardian to Eutelsat in Paris to witness a live rocket launch and the best poster winner will also win a visit to Eutelsat in France to visit a satellite manufacturing facility.

Kaunda also said that the overall runners up win a trip for two to visit MultiChoice facilities and the South African Space Agency near Johannesburg in South Africa.

Kaunda added that "to improve the profile of the awards and enhance them, we have entered into a partnership with the ministry responsible for science in technology in the country, and the Department of Inspectorate and Advisory Services who champions competition at that level."

According to Kuanda the partnership will focus on opportunities in Malawi that can be leverage to increase awareness, promoting entries in secondary and high schools and enhancing the profile of the awards.

The theme and topic this year will be ‘Satellites - Expanding Africa’s Horizon’. Through the amazing power and capabilities of satellites, the ability of scientists to make sense of our world and shape the future of human kind has increased in leaps and bounds.

Satellites have changed our perception of the Earth, helping us to realize that it is small, fragile and possibly unique in the immensity of space, and as such it must be preserved.

Satellites help us to learn more about our planet and to improve the ways in which we use its limited resources; they also revolutionize the way we travel and communicate.

Commenting on MultiChoice Africa’s involvement in the awards, MultiChoice company president, Nico Meyer, stated that technology based companies operating in Africa face growing concern that Africa is not producing sufficient graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"These fields are a prerequisite for sustained economic growth and [are] thus of strategic importance to the continent. For MultiChoice, as an African business, the situation is particularly pertinent as we need to draw on employees with knowledge and skills in these fields. The awards therefore represent our commitment as a company to contribute towards the growth of science and technology in Africa," said Meyer.

Chief executive officer of Eutelsat communications, Michel de Rosen, said that the first edition of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards was a resounding success, attracting over 800 entries from across Africa.

He stated that Eutelsat was delighted to again partner the 2012 awards with the shared objective of harnessing the allure of space to get young Africans excited about science and technology.

"The 2011 winners, Mary Musimire and Micheal Yeboah,who both visited us in Paris impressed us with the quality of their work and we look forward to again showcasing emerging new talent in the 2012 awards," he said.

Malawi students have vowed to put in all their effort to make sure that this year the country produces winners at the awards.

To enter, students need to pick up copies of the entry form and rules from their nearest headteacher or download a copy.


By: Evance Bwanaope


(Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Compfight)

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