“Design influences daily life in more ways than one might imagine. Not only does it develop and introduce new products that make life easier or more entertaining; it can also communicate social and awareness campaigns, help structure communities and improve a nation’s quality of life,” so says Pieter Twine, Woolworths General Manager: Making the Difference educational programmes. Woolworths strongly believes in nurturing and growing this country’s young design talent and is once again calling upon Grade 10, 11 and 12 design and visual art learners to enter its 2009 ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ schools’ competition. Now in its fourth year, the theme for this year’s Woolworths ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ schools’ competition is ‘Zwakala – Bring it on!’ and the brief to budding young designers is to develop and produce a product that can be exhibited, displayed or sold at the 2010 Soccer World Cup, as well as live independently of the event well beyond its final kick off. Entrants are asked to imagine that they have been selected as one of South Africa’s top designers entrusted with the task of ‘branding’ their country, as well as to showcase and reflect the spirit of its people to local and international guests through their final design. Design categories are varied and include visual communication design, surface, environmental and product design, which includes the design of packaging, furniture, clothing and fashion accessories. “This is a call to young learners – who might have watched, for example, the 2008 Beijing Olympics in awe, left wondering how it all came together – to reproduce, with a generous dash of local flavour, that same magic and inspiration right here on home turf,” says Twine. “When learners are exposed to design orientated events and are made aware of the intricacies involved behind the scenes, they are exposed to a variety of interesting and attainable career choices, from event and project management to display and exhibition design.” According to Twine, in addition to prizes that include training in design and resource books for their school and themselves, category winners will also participate in the exciting Woolworths ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ platforms. This includes showcasing their work at the Design Indaba Expo – South Africa’s premier showcase of local design – where category winners are also afforded the opportunity to meet and be inspired by a host of well known South African designers associated with the programme such as Carol Boyes, Heath Nash, Haldane Martin or Nkhensani Nkosi, amongst others. The Woolworths ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ education initiative is currently supporting the design curriculum at more than 400 schools in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Each year the competition, sponsored jointly by Sappi and Woolworths in conjunction with the Woolworths ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ programme, has a theme deeply rooted in South Africa’s socio-economic, environmental and geographical climate. Kathy Ormerod, business development manager at Sappi Fine Paper says the competition encourages design learners to take the opportunity of showcasing their talent and developing innovative and creative solutions. “As host country to the 2010 Soccer World Cup we will be on the world stage. This platform will be an inspiration to learners to bring their concepts and style to the forefront, creating the ultimate South African experience,” says Ormerod. “As the world’s largest producer of coated paper, we regard it as our duty and privilege to educate and innovate in a sustainable way.” Historically design has been considered the ‘soft option’ for learners not proficient in mathematics and science. However, as Suné Stassen, board member of the Design Education Forum of South Africa and Creative Consultant for the Woolworths ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ programme points out: “Learners who are highly skilled in mathematics, science and technology should also seriously consider taking design as a subject, especially if they are considering following a career in engineering, architecture or industrial design. This powerful combination of subject choices could mean the difference between a good and an outstanding innovator or entrepreneur.” For more information on how to enter this year’s Woolworths ‘Making the Difference Through Design’ competition and more on the ‘Zwakala – Bring in on!” email mtd@woolworths.co.za or contact 021 407 7622. The closing date for final submissions is 25 June.