Tanaka Chonyera, 18, has put Botswana on the map by scooping top honours in the essay category at the eighth edition of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards held in Accra, Ghana recently.
Tanaka’s entry was written in a confident, concise and factual manner and made for an intriguing, engaging and educational read. Paolo Nespoli, an European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut who chaired the jury of the Awards said it was quite clear that Chonyera had cultivated his passion with research and study, that has resulted in sound knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation in Ghana said having reviewed some of the topics from previous competitions of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards they were filled with elation by the myriad of young African minds across the continent that are tasked to use satellite technology to address basic human challenges on our continent.
To date this pan-African competition has drawn over 8,000 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. Chonyera wins 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-ups thus far.
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.”