A number of young scientists gathered at the Sol Plaatje University South Campus Community Hall to display their science and innovation research projects during the Kimberley regional finals of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.
The expo saw a total of 78 learners from the region showcasing their innovative science, engineering and social investigations, while 31 judges who are educators, specialists and scholars in the various competition categories and Eskom Expo enthusiasts evaluated and gave scores to the 59 projects that were on exhibition.
This regional expo was one of 35 regional expos planned in all provinces across South Africa – the first Eskom Expo physical science fairs since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the most number of entries were seen in the Biomedical and Medical Sciences category with 15 entries. There were also a significant number of entries in the Social Sciences and Energy categories.
Eskom Expo’s Northern Cape Provincial Coordinator, Chris McCartney, said: “Although there were relatively few entries compared to the pre-Covid pandemic number of entries at the Expo, it was pleasing to see a marked increase over the previous two years when the Expos were held online. The event also marked a new partnership with the Sol Plaatje University, as both organisations share common goals, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Crouch, is keen to support STEM education across the province”.
A total 26 learners received bronze medals, while 10 received silver and 12 received gold. Learners from St. Patrick’s CBC received the most number of gold medals and medals overall.
The Eskom Special Award winners for the best project by female learners were Isabella Struwig and Sade Gird from Newton Primary School with their project titled, “Combating pollution through thermal insulation: Repurposing disposable masks into blankets for the homeless”.
The Best in Energy Category was awarded to Antoné Menne from Hoërskool De Aar with her project, “Skaap-voerkraalmis ideaal vir verhitting”.
The best Development Project was also a group project, and awarded to Chriszaan Olievier and Rihanna Darries from Hoërskool Riverside with their project, “Candle jar”.
Lastly, the Most Innovative project award went to Sabelo Sithole from Kimberley Boys’ High School for his project, “Hydroelectric traffic lights”.
The Eskom Special Award winners all received Bluetooth headphones.
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 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 Kimberley region, contact Chris McCartney: firstname.lastname@example.org