A young scientist from Mandla Mthethwa School of Excellence has been awarded at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) after successfully showcasing his research project, which pushed the boundaries of sustainable transportation.
Sqiniseko Mpontshane, 18, from Jozini in KwaZulu-Natal embarked on a research endeavour which centred on the creation of a self-driven solar electric car, equipped with a wireless trailer that autonomously follows the vehicle, and a supercharging station for the eco-friendly electric car. This visionary project fuses state-of-the-art technology with renewable energy sources, offering a promising glimpse into the future of environmentally conscious and self-reliant transportation solutions.
“My inspiration for this project primarily stems from my passion for technology and robotics. I’ve always been fascinated by the potential of self-driving vehicles and sustainable energy. I saw an opportunity to merge these interests and contribute to the development of cleaner, smarter transportation solutions for the future,” said Mpontshane,
“Participating in the Eskom Expo was an incredible experience. What I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to showcase my research project and interact with fellow young scientists and innovators. The Expo provided a platform for sharing ideas, learning from others, and gaining valuable feedback, which was a truly enriching experience,” he said.
Mpontshane was awarded a Silver medal for his research project and a high-end laptop sponsored by Trisim Trading, which presented the Desiree Pillay Memorial Award to a project that presented an innovative contribution to the transport industry. This local small business, led by Indren Pillay and Meloshini Pillay, is an avid supporter of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) education.
“Winning awards at the Eskom Expo ISF was a surreal and exhilarating moment for me. It was a validation of the hard work and dedication I had put into my research project. It also inspired me to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation and science, knowing that my efforts were recognised and appreciated by the judges and the STEMI community,” said Mpontshane.
“For my future plans, I’m eager to pursue higher education. I am considering studying mechatronics or electrical engineering. Mechatronics is the perfect blend of mechanical and electrical engineering, and it aligns perfectly with my passion for robotics and innovative technology. I believe that by studying these disciplines, I can gain the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to the advancement of autonomous systems and sustainable energy solutions, which are crucial for our future. Ultimately, I hope to play a role in shaping the technology of tomorrow and making the world a better place through innovation,” he said.
Eskom Development Foundation Acting CEO, Mologadi Motshele, said: “The Foundation extends its warmest congratulations to the remarkable young scientists who enthusiastically participated in this year’s Eskom Expo International Science Fair. The ground-breaking projects that graced the fair, showcased the exceptional talent and innovation of the youth. We wish each participant the very best in their future endeavours. Every participant stands as a winner, contributing to a brighter future through dedication in the pursuit of scientific knowledge and progress”.
Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty said: “This learner hails from a remote part of the country that lacks the resources found in most major cities, but that did not deter Sqiniseko from thinking creatively and pursuing his idea to a prototype. The solution developed by this learner goes beyond the school curriculum as he had to do a lot of research on his own and learn new skills, to build his prototype. This is the calibre of learner produced by the Eskom Expo and it gives our country hope for a brighter future with great engineering ideas like those displayed by Sqiniseko.”