Ntare School’s Amos Mumbere is the overall winner of the seventh edition of the DStv Eutelsat Star awards in the essay category.
He received his award at a gala organized by MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat in Kampala last Thursday. Mumbere wins a trip for two to Paris and onwards to a launch site in Kourou, in the French Guyana to witness a rocket blast into space.
The rocket, due to take off later this year, will be heading into space to place a satellite into orbit. This is the third win in the essay category for Uganda after victories in 2011 and 2012.
Mumbere’s essay, on how the 1957 launch of the first satellite, Sputnik, had impacted on humankind, was also the best in Uganda in the essay category, ahead of Gabine Ngabonziza’s of Kibuli SS.
In the essay category, Henry Kirungi of St Mary’s College Kisubi came out second to Mumbere, whereas Elsa Mirembe of Gayaza High School won the poster category. But the two lost to Tanzania’s Rasheed Taher of Al-Madrasa-tus-Saifya-tul-Burhaniya school in the continental category.
The overall winner in the poster category wins a trip for two to visit the South African National Space Agency and MultiChoice facilities. St Mary’s College Kisubi and Gayaza High School will be rewarded with a DStv installation, including dish, TV set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv education package.
For this year’s edition, students were asked to write a creative essay or design a poster based on the impact of Sputnik in launching humankind into the 21st century and as a unifier.
Paolo Nespoli, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, was on hand as chairman of the jury for fourth time.
The rest of the jury included Prof Funsho Falade, dean of the faculty of Engineering at the University of Lagos; Michael Niyitegeka, country manager of ICDL Africa; Patrice Paquot, Eutelsat deputy regional vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the head of operations at MultiChoice Uganda Patricia Kiconco.
Nespoli said he was impressed with the caliber of entries.
“The finalists showed an exceptional grasp of the subject matter along with a distinct use of creativity and ingenuity. We all were extremely impressed by the calibre of the work we had to judge. As a jury, we were challenged when we had to pick the winners.”
Handing over the prize, the state minister for higher education, Dr John C Muyingo hoped that Nespoli’s presence in the country would inspire students to do better next year.
“I would also like to recognise that he is the first astronaut to visit Uganda ... I believe your presence will inspire the students especially those interested in the space industry. Your presence will create hope and belief among students that anything is possible in this world,” he said.