Update: SA young scientists in Indonesia science competition

Husna Docrat

The fifth edition of the International Science Technology Engineering Competition aimed to encourage research and innovation in Indonesia, offering participants a distinct platform to nurture their passions in science, technology, and engineering, saw South Africa put it’s best foot forward this year.

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Husna Docrat, a Grade 11 learner at St Dominics Newcastle Curro in KwaZulu-Natal, was a Gold medal recipient and a Grand Award certificate receiver, after impressing judges with her research project, entitled, “Exploring the feasibility of bioplastics as alternatives to conventional Plastics”.

Husna Docrat

With conventional plastic bags taking approximately 20 years to decompose, Docrat developed a bioplastic solution that offers a sustainable alternative to these widely used pollutants.

“I am very grateful to be given the opportunity by Eskom Expo for Young Scientists and all my mentors who have taken the time to help and encourage me and made it possible for me to be here. I am overwhelmed with excitement at the fact that I have won a Gold medal and a Grand Award. It has been a dream of mine, and I am so glad that I could accomplish it. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my parents, siblings and family members,” she said.

Her highlight on the trip was meeting and interacting with other competitors from across the world.

“They have all been extremely friendly and welcoming. And of course winning the awards to bring home to South Africa,” she added.

Rikyle Andrio Jordaan, a Grade 12 learner at Paterson High School in Gqeberha; along with S’qiniseko Mpilenhle Mpontshane, a Grade 12 learner at Mandla Mthethwa School of Excellence in Ndumu, KwaZulu-Natal; and Isabel Lutz, a Grade 10 learner at Bloemhof Hoër Meisieskool in Stellenbosch all scooped Silver medals at the ISTEC.

Rikyle Jordaan

Jordaan, who presented his research project, “Building a resilient grid: Leveraging solar, wind, and hydropower for improved reliability” said, It has been an exciting journey participating in the ISTEC, eye-opening in terms of mission and vision. I didn’t think I was going to win an award, let alone a Silver medal, due to the complexity of the competition as we competed with university and college students from across the globe. It feels great representing my country, pedigree, school and the whole ascending at the global stage,” he said.

Mphontshane showcased his research project titled Sustainable transportation using a Solar-powered Autonomous car.  He said receiving an award from the ISTEC was truly validating, and recognized the dedication poured into the project.


S’qiniseko Mpontshane


“It is humbling and motivating to receive international recognition for hard work and passion. This experience was enriching, as we had an opportunity to engage with different perspectives, and I was inspired by innovative projects globally,” he added.

Lutz, who presented her research project, titled Integrating AI-enabled chatbots in the classroom – friend or foe?” said participating in the ISTEC was an extraordinary experience, which brought me immense happiness and pride.

Isabel Lutz

“It was a clear sign of the exceptional teamwork that we are, and the successful outcomes we achieved after putting in so much effort. To the young aspiring scientists, I offer this advice: “Persevere even when faced with challenges. Stay committed to your goals, and remember that overcoming obstacles brings you closer to achieving your dreams.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the Eskom Development Foundation (Acting),  Mologadi Motshele congratulated the young scientists and said their outstanding achievements showcased individual brilliance but also brought forward undertones of the collective potential of the South African youth.

“The research projects undertaken by these youngsters are not merely academic pursuits but hold significant promise in addressing real-world challenges faced by our nation. The dedication by the young scientists to advance knowledge and find practical solutions reflects a commitment to shaping a brighter future for South Africa and beyond. Well done.”

Registration to take part in 2024 Eskom Expo is open. Learners in grades 4 to 12, along with TVET college learners (NC2 to NC4) can register their research projects by visiting www.exposcience.co.za.

Also read: This is what Google’s Hustle Academy aimed at this year

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