SA young scientist shine at international science fair

Dr Sure Mupezeni, Nyakallo Nonjabulo Mbongo and , Rohan VAn Loggerencberg, Seffan Kiyara Swarbooi and Mr Moloko

Six South African young scientists who presented their innovative research projects at the international science fair in Tunisia and Beijing have returned home triumphant.

The learners have secured medals in their respective categories.

Alexia Hilton Smedmor, Keerthana Kishor and Ms, Silungile Sibiya

Keerthana Kishor Nair from Bryanston High School and Alexia Smedmore from Parktwon High School for Girls competed at the International Festival of Engineering, Science, and Technology in Tunisia (I-Fest) from 22 to 28 March 2024 following their award-winning performance at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair in 2023.  Nair placed in the top 10, achieved a gold medal while Smedmore achieved a silver medal.

“I did not expect it at all. This was an experience unlike any other. I met so many new people from across the globe and learned so much more about their culture and lifestyle. This is knowledge and a feeling I would have never gotten anywhere else. My highlight in Tunisia was definitely the Colosseum – Amphitheatre of El Jem. To be in the presence of so much history, authenticity, and something so massive – it really showed me the beauty of travel and nature. I was humbled in the moment with the breathtaking masterpiece of this ancient architecture. Truly ineffable,” Nair said.

Nyakallo Nonjabulo Mbongo from Welkom Gimnasium, Kiyara Tami Swartbooi from Port Rex Technical High School in East London, alongside Steffan Thielen and Rohan van Loggerenberg, from Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch competed at the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition in China from March 28 March to April 1.

Thielen and Van Loggerenberg were awarded Gold medals while Mbongo and Swartbooi were awarded Gold medals while Mbongo and swartbooi were awarded silver medals.

Mbongo was awarded the second prize for the Yanqi Innovation Competition and received a cash prize to the value of R5200.

Mbongo said, “I am deeply honored and grateful for the awards I have received. Simply being chosen by Eskom Expo to represent my country was a significant achievement for me, but to receive an award further added to my joy. Witnessing the scale and competitiveness of the BYSCC was truly eye-opening, especially seeing the remarkable projects presented by other participants. This experience reinforced the belief that hard work indeed yields results, and emphasized the importance of pursuing our passions wholeheartedly.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Eskom Development Foundation (Acting), Mologadi Motshele, said: “Congratulations to all the young scientists who showcased their exceptional talents and innovative projects at the recent international science fairs. Your dedication, hard work, and ingenuity have not only earned you recognition but also inspired countless others. Your achievements highlight the immense potential that young minds hold in shaping the future of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation (STEMI). It’s crucial to continue nurturing young scientists from a tender age, providing them with the support, resources, and encouragement they need to explore their interests and pursue their passions in STEMI fields.”

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