The DTC Shining Light Awards 2010 journey started on 20th October in the Western Cape, followed by presentations in Gauteng, Limpopo, KZN, Soweto, Namibia and finally in Botswana.
The rollout of the 2010 Shining Light competition reflects a change in the overall timeline of previously run Shining Light Competitions by approximately five months. Amongst others, by bringing the competition forward by five months, entrants to the 2010 competition will receive an additional two months in which to come up with their winning design submissions (entries are due 1 March 2010) at a time which we believe will be more conducive to creativity – entrants will have the more relaxing Christmas holiday period to design their winning designs.
This week we finished presenting the competition brief to Jewellery Design Schools around South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, taking time to visit the schools individually during their yearend exam time. Rolling out the competition theme to the students was a revelation; without fail all the lecture theatres, examination halls, community centres and workshops were filled to capacity – and this, when everyone is at their busiest and most stressed writing exams. In the four week period we conducted these presentations, we presented to over 1000 students – all busy with their final exam pieces! Travelling from Johannesburg to the tree lined avenues of Stellenbosch, a dusty hall in Windhoek and to the Thulari High School in White City, Jabavu located in Soweto, the largest township just outside Johannesburg, my audience at every sitting was excited, motivated and attentive. In Namibia, the Katutura Community Arts Centre filled their hall with around 60 aspiring designers.
In the same week we gave our presentation to the strongest crowd yet – a high school in Soweto. This presentation was truly humbling. The presentation venue was modest and the students cramped, the light streamed in through broken windows which the students had taped newspaper to in order that they were able to see the projection from the screen. This is part of what Shining Light is about – bringing opportunities to young designers on the brink of their careers who are less fortunate than others.
For me, even more heart-warming was the presence of a contingent of deaf students who came to the presentation with their translator. Students who sat in the front row and in spite of the challenge they face, through their translator, asked relevant questions and showed great enthusiasm.
This takes the Shining Light Awards to a new level of beneficiation; something that made me very proud to be part of the De Beers Family of Companies which remains committed to unearthing Southern African talent at grass roots level.
Of course, an added benefit to the competition being fully on-line this year (through FaceBook and the website) is the fact that all entrants will be able to communicate and interact with us throughout the duration of the competition period.
In closing – we are ahead of our initial and proposed timeline, and are now working on the Preliminary Judging which will take place in March 2010. I believe this competition has pushed the boundaries yet again and will continue to shine light down south.
To those of you who attended the briefings, thank you. And to those who were unable to attend but would still like to take part, please visit www.shininglightsawards.com where you can download the presentation given at the briefing and you can download the entry forms.
Until next year, best of luck to everyone writing exams, I look forward to seeing your interpretations of Enduring Bonds on 1 March 2010.
For those of you travelling home for the holidays, travel safe and a Happy Christmas to you and your families
All the best,
Head of Marketing - Southern Africa
De Beers Group Marketing