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Cradle of Humankind, Cradle of Talent: SAA Celebrates Young Writers with South African Odyssey


South African Airways (SAA) has granted winners of its annual essay contests an all-expenses-paid trip to Johannesburg, South Africa.

The recipients include the top three winners of the South African Airways Essay Competition (SAAEC 2022) for Secondary Schools and the first-place winner of the Tertiary Institutions Category of the National Travel Essay Competition (NTEC 2023).

SAAEC 2022 winners are Ngwaogu Ifeoluwa Ugochi, 1st position from Abesan Senior High School; Aladetohun Kamimayo Enoch, 2nd position from St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Yaba; and Oshimade Abisola Promise, 3rd position from Abiolu Comprehensive College, Igando.

Ms. Nwafor Merciful Chika from the University of Nigeria, Nsuka, who secured the first place in the Tertiary Institutions Category of NTEC 2023, also enjoyed the trip along with Media Partner Ms. Daisy Barro of Travel & Business News.

Mrs. Kemi Leke-Bamtefa, Country Manager of South African Airways, expressed joy, emphasizing the airline’s vision to impact the younger generation positively. The students embarked on a four-day journey from January 28–31, 2024.

During their visit, the students explored the Cradle of Humankind, experiencing exhibitions representing human development.

The second day was spent in Soweto, where they learned about the historical Soweto uprising and visited Nelson Mandela’s home.

The final day included a visit to East Rand Mall and a relaxing time at the South African Airways Business Class Lounge before bidding farewell.

Ngwaogu Ifeoluwa Ugochi shared, “The trip was a lot of fun, and it was part of the package for winning the competition. It was so wonderful visiting the cradle of humankind where we learned so much about the transition from the past to the present and the future.”

Nwafor Merciful Chika added, “It has been a wonderful adventure, a time of pleasure and fun. I have gotten to learn so many things, especially about the Cradle of Humankind.”

The essay topics focused on critical issues like “Protecting Children from Illicit Drugs and Sexual Abuse” for SAAEC 2022 and “Curbing the Trafficking of Illicit Drugs in Nigeria” for NTEC 2023.

The students expressed gratitude, describing the experience as “humbling,” “amazing,” and “fulfilling,” acknowledging South African Airways for the luxurious treatment and the unforgettable opportunity.


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