The third annual UBUNTU AWARDS 2017: “CELEBRATING OR TAMBO … IN HIS FOOTSTEPS”, hosted by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), are held on 11 February to celebrate South African citizens who play an active role in projecting a positive image of South Africa internationally through their good work.
Siyabulela Xusa: Winner of the Ubuntu Youth Diplomacy Award
The Youth Award is given to an individual, between the ages of 15 and 35, who through his or her actions, activities and achievements, has promoted South Africa as a dynamic country with an enabling environment for youth to thrive in and contribute to making South Africa and the world a better place.
Siya Xusa has accomplished more by the age of 28 than many have in a lifetime – including having a planet named after him, in honour of his work in developing a record-breaking rocket and creating safer, more energy efficient rocket fuel.
He is an energy-engineering Harvard University graduate with a passion for harnessing the power of the sun for clean affordable energy. One of his earlier projects won gold at the National Science Expo and the Dr Derek Gray Memorial Award for the most prestigious project in South Africa, which led to an invitation to the International Youth Science Fair in Sweden in 2006, where he presented his project to the King and Queen of Sweden and attended the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm.
In 2010, he was elected as a fellow of the African Leadership Network, a premier network of those individuals poised to shape Africa’s future over the next 10 to 20 years, consisting of the most dynamic, influential and successful leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa and its Diaspora. In 2011, he was invited to the United Nations (UN) and the New York Stock Exchange in recognition for being one of the world’s emerging business leaders and to offer strategies for solving the world’s energy crisis.
His credibility was further endorsed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration-affiliated Lincoln Laboratory, which was so impressed by the young engineer's achievement that it named a minor planet after him. Planet 23182, discovered in 2000, is now known as Siyaxuza and is found in the main asteroid belt near Jupiter.