Grade 12 Fish Hoek design learner Meghan Lombard has walked away with the top national award in the ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ competition. It’s the third award this talented Fish Hoek High School learner has won in as many years, and the second time she’s taken top honours. This is the first year that the competition has been run outside of the Western Cape. Sponsored jointly by Sappi and Woolworths, this annual competition is run in conjunction with the Woolworths ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ education initiative which is currently supporting the design curriculum at some 400 schools in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The purpose of the competition is to inspire learners to use their creative abilities and demonstrate them practically, as well as to develop their awareness of the environment. The theme for this year’s competition was “design cul-cha”. Learners were asked to develop a new design or product inspired by a fusion of two or more South African “cul-chas”, and to investigate current trends and the industry for which they were designing. As Penny Luthi, who manages the ‘Making the Difference’ programme at Woolworths, explains, “South Africa’s rich diversity of cultures offers virtually limitless inspiration for the designer.” “Our goal this year was to encourage learners to look beyond their own cultures and explore how they could blend their own heritage with the heritage and culture of other groups to create something new and exciting.” “As part of our Good business journey, Woolworths is committed not only to driving social development by supporting education, but also to protecting the environment by reducing waste and encouraging others to do so. Limiting students to recycled materials helps them understand the amount of waste material that ends up in landfill every day and challenges their creativity in finding new uses for it,” adds Luthi. “We are continually amazed at the depth and range of creative solutions these youngsters are able not only to imagine, but to actually demonstrate.” Art and Design learners in Grades 10, 11 and 12 in all 400 schools were invited to enter in one of the following categories: visual communications, product design, surface design or environmental design. As in previous years, learners were permitted to use only waste materials in creating their design. Lombard’s design, which won the environmental design category, is a sculpture which represents the “mother” of South Africa holding in her arms a golden baby. The “baby” symbolizes all the truly South African products that contribute to the economy. The judges were impressed not only by Lombard’s design, but by the clever way she was able to&nbspute it. “Meghan successfully combined multiple design disciplines in creating this striking sculpture that is truly a reflection and symbol of a country we can all feel proud to belong to,” said judging panel chair Sune Stassen. The other provincial winners for 2008 were: in Gauteng, Kaz Le Bihan, a Grade 11 learner at Crawford College, who created a drum-inspired stool featuring symbols from Zulu, Islamic and Hindu cultures; and in KwaZulu-Natal: Jasmin Brijlal from Durban Girls School, who created a “waste coat” inspired by Ndebele and Indian cultures. Other category winners in the Western Cape were: Tanya Swemmer, Curro Independent (Product Design); Anene Claasen, Stellenberg High (Fashion Design); Nadia Burger, Die Coetzee Ateljee (Visual Communication: Packaging Design) and Nadia Visser, Die Coetzee Ateljee (Visual Communication: Animation). ENDS