AFTER dominating for the past two consecutive years at the DStv Eutelsat Star Continental Awards, Zimbabwe at last lost to Ethiopia and Nigeria during last year’s 6th edition of the continental essay and poster competition for High School students held recently in Lagos, Nigeria.
Zimbabwe set a record in 2015 and became the first country in the competition to achieve consecutive wins at continental level in 2014 and 2015, a record it still only holds.
Leoul Masfin from Ethiopia and Nigeria’s Emmanuel Ochenjele were announced the 2016 winners in the essay and poster competitions respectively at the continental awards.
Mesfin, won a trip to Paris in France to visit a rocket launch site and also witness a rocket being launched into space to place a satellite in orbit. His runner-up from Tanzania, Davids Bwana will go on a trip for two to South Africa and visit MultiChoice facilities in Johannesburg and the South African National Space Agency near Johannesburg.
Ochenjele on the other hand will visit Eutelsat in Paris to learn how satellites are operated and will also visit a satellite factory there, whilst his runner-up from Botswana Aobakwe Letamo will visit South Africa and go on a similar tour like his counterpart in the essay competition.
Eutelsat is one of the world’s leading satellite operators with a powerful fleet of satellites serving users across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
As usual the schools attended by the four overall continental award winners and runners-up were also each rewarded free DStv installation, including a satellite dish, television set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Bouquet.
The 2016 country winners for Zimbabwe that were outclassed were Shaun Matondo from Hartzell High School and Brandon Murira from Mutare Boys’ High School who was the runner-up or the posters category.
In the essay competition was Andile Dube from Bulawayo’s St Columbas’ High School and his runner-up Ruvimbo Jongwe from St Dominics’ High School in Chishawasha.
Manicaland schools continue to dominate in the competition with winners almost every year. In 2015, Mutare Boys’ High student Mallon Marume scooped the continental poster award becoming the second Zimbabwean to win the annual competition since it started in 2011.
Manicaland schools also wrote their own history at country level that same year after dominating the awards after Hartzell High students Beverley Saungweme and Steve Matondo ruled the roost and scooped the runners-up accolades for the essay and poster categories respectively.
Liz Dziva, publicity and public relations manager of MultiChoice Zimbabwe, said Zimbabweans are good at create arts given how the country has featured well at continental level in past years.
“Last year we were not lucky and the top continental prizes have gone to other countries, but we know that judges were delighted with the quantity and quality of entries from Zimbabwe and we look forward to continued entry by Zimbabwean high school students when the 2017 competition takes place towards the end of this year,” she said.
The DStv Eutelsat Star competition that was initiated in 2011 focuses on creative arts on science and space technology.
Sponsored by MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat the annual pan-African student competition is open to all students from the age of 14 to 19. Country winners are named in each category (Poster and Essay categories) and they compete against colleagues from across Africa in the continental awards.
Dziva said last year’s competition attracted more than 1 000 entries from 20 countries across Africa.