The Dr Kenneth Kaunda regional finals of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists were held at the North West University Potchefstroom Campus where learners had the opportunity to display their science and innovation research projects.
A total of 116 learners from the region gathered on 12th August 2022 to showcase their innovative science, engineering and social investigations, while 32 judges who are educators, specialists and scholars in the various competition categories and Eskom Expo enthusiasts evaluated and gave scores to the 87 projects that were on exhibition.
This regional expo was one of 35 regional expos held in all provinces across South Africa – the first Eskom Expo science fair since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the greatest number of entries were seen in the Social Sciences and Engineering categories with a total of 49 entries. There were also a significant number of entries in Computer Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences and Plant Sciences.
Dr Cleopatra Mokhaneli from North West University said: “By taking part in this competition learners have proven that they can make their dream come true. Young scientists can change the world and are the leaders of change in the world we live in. Hold on to that dream and never let it die. Let go of fear and continue to shine the best way you know how.”
Eskom Expo Regional Science Fair Director in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda region, Lydia Maputle said: “Overall, the region received fewer projects compared to the previous years and we also had learners pulling out at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. I would really like to encourage different schools within the region to put more effort into attending more of the sub-district’s research and innovation camps, in which many of our winners in the regional 2022 were mostly participants.”
A total of 25 learners at the event received bronze medals, while 21 received silver and 7 received gold.
The Eskom Special Award winners were Stoffel Precious and Sejane Tshepo (Klerksdorp Secondary School); Unathi Malo (Tiragalo Secondary School); along with Kerryn Hodgson and Hannia Kempton (The High School for Girls in Potchefstroom); and Matwa Nombulelo and Batsietsing Omphemetse (Gatelapele Secondary School).
Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Cecil Ramonotsi, said: “As the funder of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, it has been a welcoming return to form to be able to host a physical expo in the region this year. It was impressive how learners, especially previously disadvantaged learners and girls, were able to develop such innovative projects while still at school, giving assurance that the future is in good hands. Eskom is investing in young scientists through Eskom Expo, which forms part of a broader Eskom strategy of skills development, investing in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) at school level.”
Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, said: “Eskom is committed to nurturing South Africa’s brightest young minds through regional science fairs, where they are able to present their innovations and exposed to the diversity of career opportunities in the scientific world. Eskom Expo remains one of our flagship corporate citizenship initiatives, through which we actively develop the innovation potential, presentation skills and competitive edge of our young scientists. Congratulations to all medal winners who we trust will make even greater strides at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF).”
Learners in the region who advance to the ISF, which will be held in December, will compete against the best performing young scientists around the country. At this prestigious event, learners stand a chance to win prizes and bursaries, along with scholarships and various opportunities. Learners also stand a chance to be selected to showcase their research or innovation in an international science fair in the United States of America, Asia, Europe and the rest of Africa.
For more information on the Dr Kenneth Kaunda district fair, contact: Mmabatho Moloedi (0784915052 | 0762572875) and Lydia Maputle (0834276072)