Young Mzansi boffins compete against world

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By Anita Dangazele

Two learners from poor schools in the Eastern Cape will fly overseas in May to compete in international science competitions after winning locally.

Alutha Botha from Nombulelo High School in Makhanda and Rikyle Jordaan from Paterson High School in Gqeberha were winners at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists in November.  

Alutha will be going to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in the US, and Rikyle will be heading to the International Science Technology Engineering Competition in Bali, Indonesia.

Alutha’s project, which saw him win a bronze medal in the environmental science category at the Eskom Expo, explores the habitat of juvenile fish using remote video cameras.

This, says Alutha, will help scientists and researchers observe the young fish in their natural environment without harming them.

“We can see their natural behaviour and we can observe them without influencing them as opposed to extracting them. This helps to conserve and protect them,” says Alutha.

The Grade 12 learner, who hopes to pursue a career in marine science, says he hopes his project will eventually contribute to influencing the laws around the issuing of fishing permits.

Meanwhile, Rikyle’s renewable energy project combines wind, solar and hydropower to generate electricity.

The Paterson High School head boy, who plans to study mechatronics at Nelson Mandela University next year, says he hopes his project will help provide a solution to the country’s energy crisis.

“I read an article last year which stated that all of our energy sources were non-renewable, which means at some point they will be depleted. So I sought to find a renewable solution,” says Rikyle.

Both learners are looking forward to their upcoming trips.

Rikyle says he is excited about the prospect of interacting with young scientists from different backgrounds and cultures and Alutha says he is looking forward to gaining new knowledge that he can use to plough back into the country.

Pictured above: Eastern Cape young scientists Rikyle Jordaan and Alutha Botha, who are jetting off to compete in international science competitions.

Image source: Supplied


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