SA North West University student's food security idea wins award in Germany. PHOTO: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - South African North West University student Emile Coetzee has been crowned the winner of the Future Leaders Forum at the World Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events (IMEX) 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Coetzee on Wednesday was awarded with the MPI Foundation/Maritz Global Events Student Scholarship and jets off to New York to present her idea at a gala dinner.

"In the context of food, South Africa is very [diverse]. It is something unique we can give to the rest of world in terms of our conservation," Coetzee said

"I thought about what other people would do and thought they will go for more technology-driven food, like how meat will be produced in technological ways."

Coetzee said she thought about what South Africans were looking for in their food and came up with the "Forbidden Fruit" concept and looked at the nation as a whole.

"All of us want to live more sustainably and do not want GMO in our foods. So I thought of forbidden fruit, which goes back to where it all started, to [teach] people to harvest wild food. It can be more sustainable than technology-driven food," said Coetzee.

South African Tourism, in a statement, said Coetzee believes that South Africa is one of the “breadwinners” for Africa’s tourism and meetings industries, attracting the bulk of international tourists to the continent.

"This is an extremely proud moment for us to see such talent from the South African Tourism industry shine on the global stage," South African Tourism’s Chief Convention Bureau Officer, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo said

Kotze-Nhlapo said credit should go to the Tourism faculty at North West University as Emile is the third student from the university to have won this prestigious award in the last five years.

She said it is encouraging to note that the next generation of tourism leaders from the continent are starting to come through and wished Coetzee all the best.

"We wish Emile all the best with her scholarship and look forward to her sharing her key learnings with us and the greater tourism industry," Kotze-Nhlapo added.

African News Agency (ANA)