Young scientists shine at Northern KZN Regional expo

The Northern KwaZulu-Natal regional finals of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists saw more than a hundred learners display their science and innovation research projects.

A total of 151 learners from the region gathered at the Newcastle Show Hall on 22 July 2022 to showcase their innovative science, engineering and social investigations, while 37 judges who are educators, specialists and scholars in the various competition categories and Eskom Expo enthusiasts evaluated and gave scores to the 129 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 Social Sciences category with 33 entries. There were also a significant number of entries in Engineering and Energy category.

Eskom Expo’s Northern KwaZulu-Natal Regional Science Fair Directors, Dr Alfred Msomi (Uthukela District) and Mr Manuel Govender (Amajuba District), were very thankful to have been able to host a physical expo this year in the region, and to be able to give young scientists a platform to express their creative, innovative, talent through their research projects.

“Children need to be exposed to, and participate in interactive, meaningful activities that channel their curiosity and inspire them to investigate the world around them. The Eskom Expo provides this amazing opportunity to budding scientists and engineers,” said Govender.

Dr Msomi said: “I wish to express much gratitude to the team of volunteers, teachers, and parents, officials from the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, the Department of Education and Eskom, who have played a meaningful role in enabling these youths to give expression to their passion for the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation fields, and for being a part of this amazing journey”.

A total of 25 learners received bronze medals, 28 received silver and 14 received gold. Learners from St Dominics Newcastle and Colenso Primary received the most number of gold medals and St Dominics Newcastle received the most medals overall.

The Eskom Special Award winners were:

  • Best Innovation: Neha Goli and Raeesha Hassiem from Lincoln Heights School
  • Best Development: Sinqobile Mthimkulu from Colenso Primary School
  • Best Female: Amy Moss from St Dominics Newcastle and
  • Best Energy: Shared between Kwanele Mtshali from Dundee High and Suhaan Singh from St Dominics Newcastle

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 Eskom Expo’s Northern KwaZulu-Natal region, contact Dr Msomi: 073 225 1291

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