Young scientists awarded for scientific brilliance at East London Regional Expo

Enthusiastic young scientists in East London have been awarded various prizes after successfully exhibiting their scientific and innovative research projects at this year’s regional final of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.

Rhodes University awarded a bursary to Kiyara Swarbooi, a Grade 11 learner at Port Rex Technical High School, while RS South Africa awarded a R5,000 voucher to Siyanda Ngwenya and Sihle Hloyi, Grade 11 learners at Richard Varha High School for their outstanding research projects. Continental also awarded a special award to Asithandile Gqubekile, a Grade 10 learner at Port Rex Technical High School.

Eskom Expo’s Eastern Cape Provincial Coordinator, Fredy Mashate praised the creative innovation showcased by the region’s learners, saying: “These young scientists possess the remarkable ability to identify challenges and diligently apply scientific research methodologies to craft effective solutions. The recognition of a top-performing learner who received a prestigious Rhodes University bursary is commendable. This achievement signifies a significant step toward achieving the ambitious goal of the National Development Plan to increase university science and mathematics entrants to 450,000 by the year 2030. We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the sponsors for their generous support in providing prizes and investing in the promising futures of these talented young scientists”.

The science fair had a notable turnout of 129 learners in grades 4 to 12 from the region, who gathered to present their research projects at the event held at the University of Fort Hare’s Bisho Campus on 19 August 2023. The evaluation of the 79 projects on display was carried out by 21 judges, comprising educators, specialists, scholars, and avid Eskom Expo supporters.

At the region’s awards ceremony, five exceptional young scientists were awarded the prestigious Eskom Special Awards. The learners, who received Bluetooth speakers, were:

  • Best female: Amanda Tshikitsha and Vika Gulwa, Grade 9, Mida School
  • Best innovation: Zwelandile Nombombo, Grade 6, St John’s Road Primary School
  • Best energy project: Asakhanya Mabinda, Grade 8, Imiqhaye High School
  • Best development project: Somila Kope, Grade 8, Funiwe High School

A total of 18 learners received bronze medals, nine were awarded silver, and five received highly esteemed gold medals.

Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty, said: “Eskom Expo contributes to the overarching strategy to foster skills development, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation (STEMI) at the school level, finds its cornerstone in the event we are here to commemorate. This event not only provides a platform for gifted young scientists to exhibit their cutting-edge innovations but also exposes them to a realm of captivating career prospects in diverse scientific fields. The impressive projects showcased by learners, particularly those who have triumphed over previously disadvantaged backgrounds and girls, serve as a testament to the boundless potential of our future. We extend heartfelt congratulations to all the medal winners and offer our sincerest wishes for even greater achievements at the much-anticipated Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF)”.

Advancing learners from the region will have the opportunity to compete against the country’s most exceptional young scientists at the ISF, scheduled for October 2023. This prestigious event offers participants the chance to win prizes, bursaries, scholarships, and various other opportunities. Moreover, learners stand a chance to be selected to present their research and innovations at international science fairs held in the United States of America, Asia, Europe, and across Africa.

Dates and venues of regional science fairs that took place across South Africa.

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