No longer a mampara
It was not long ago that this newspaper's congenitally wicked columnist Hogarth named Mark Shuttleworth Mampara of the Week for spending millions on a space mission.
Since then, Shuttleworth has worked hard to change this image, launching a campaign to use his trip into space to stir greater interest in science and mathematics among South African school kids.
And by branding his mission "First African in Space", he has captured the imagination of many on the continent.
The Hip2B 2 campaign which he has initiated will bring the wonders of space to thousands of children and teachers and will hopefully begin to interest them in mathematics and science, a vital cause as South Africa struggles to build its skills base. In addition, his mission will offer South African scientists a rare opportunity to conduct a series of experiments in space.
When Shuttleworth blasts off on Thursday (the scheduled mission launch date) South Africans rich and poor will have reason to be proud. He has transformed what was seen as an indulgent personal journey into a national asset.
[Source: Sunday Times]