Young scientists win big at Makhanda regional expo

The Makhanda regional finals of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists were held at the 1820 Settlers National Monument where learners had the opportunity to display their science and innovation research projects.

A total of 85 learners from the region gathered on Saturday, 6 August 2022 to showcase their innovative science, engineering and social investigations, while 96 judges who are educators, specialists and scholars in the various competition categories and Eskom Expo enthusiasts evaluated and gave scores to the 67 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 Engineering category with 13 entries. There were also a significant number of entries in Biomedical and Medical Science, Social Sciences, and Earth Sciences.

Eskom Expo’s Eastern Cape Provincial Coordinator, Fredy Mashate said: “The opportunity to witness the passion that our learners exhibit as they explain their projects to judges is priceless. Eskom Expo is doing many things right and amongst them, we are inspiring young and passionate science communicators.”

A total of 13 learners received bronze medals, while 16 received silver and two received gold.

The Eskom Special Award winners, who were awarded Bluetooth headsets, were:

  • Best Female Project: Caca Hobongwana, Kingswood College;
  • Best Energy Project: Luke Williams, Kingswood College;
  • Best Innovation Project: Makubechosi Dofi, Funda High School;
  • Best Development Project: Sisipho Jali, Ntsika Senior Secondary School

Other special prizes included two Rhodes University Bursaries that were awarded to:

  • Ali Mehdi Rizvi, Graeme College Boys
  • Caca Hobongwana, Kingswood College

The Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) Sable Antelope Award was awarded to: Angus Brown and Andrew Woods from Kingswood College.

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 Makhanda Region, contact: Fredy Mashate: | Samridhi Sharma:  

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