Special Award winners of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists were announced this morning:
The award for Best Energy Project went to Waheed Amanjee, a Grade 10 learner from Creston College (KZN).
The Best Energy Efficiency Project was by Daniel Holmes, a Grade 7 learner from Grey Boys Junior School (EC).
The Best Female Project award went to Khilona Piyarlall, who is in Grade 9 at Scottburgh High School (KZN).
The Best Development Project was by Kamogelo Rakgetse, a Grade 11 learner at Abraham Serote Secondary (LIM).
The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists touches about 100 000 learners each year, with more than 17 000 youngsters participating in regional fairs and 600 going through to the finals in Johannesburg.
Pieter Pretorius, chairman of the Expo Young Scientists board, points out that South Africa — as a middle-income country — has a myriad of challenges.
“Some of these challenges are what these learners are solving, or they are looking to alternatives,” he says. “For example, many of them are focused on the drought and finding solutions to the water crisis in the Western Cape.”
Learners are encouraged to look at problems in the communities for inspiration, and to come up with practical solutions to these issues.
“Learners go through a tough judging process,” Pretorius says. “It starts in May with the regional and district fairs and culminates in the main expo in October.”
Most projects are judged by three independent judges, as well as by subject specialists.
Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Dikobe Martins comments: “The projects I saw today were erudite and mind-blowing. The quality of the work by the young learners reminded me of my school days when such work was done only at tertiary level but nowadays it’s at school level. It’s a great sign of the times and the level of development we are having. These youngsters are not only concerned about their own interests but also the future of their country.”
Eskom group executive: transmission and acting group executive: risk and sustainability Thava Govender, says: “Eskom is proud to be part of the International Science Fair, which is a great platform for future scientists and engineers to establish a base for their future careers. It is an ideal catalyst for unearthing the country’s brightest young minds and also opens their eyes to the various options and many exciting career opportunities available in the extensive scientific world.”