Township pupils stand out in national competition

2009-10-13 00:00

THREE pupils from Mehlokazulu High School in Imbali recently came second in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, held in Pretoria.

The competition was open to pupils in grades 5 to 12. For the innovation category, grade 9 pupils Mduduzi Dlamini, Nonduduzo Dlamini and Nomfundo Zondi designed a solar-powered water purifying unit to produce clean water without using electricity.

The project is supported by the Olwazini Discovery Centre at the Golden Horse Casino and is aimed at encouraging young pupils to participate in science innovation.

Speaking to The Witness, Spar Duma from Olwazini said: “We encourage pupils to come up with their own ideas that can be applicable afterwards. This unit is something that can be used in communities who are unable to pay for electricity, but at the same time need to drink clean water.”

Nomfundo said the three came up with the invention after seeing that in South Africa’s recession, many people cannot afford to pay for electricity.

“We came up with the idea of purifying water using energy from the sun.

“It was quite an overwhelming experience for us, having to interact with people from various provinces.

“We are happy about coming back with an award and we are also grateful to our teachers, Olwazini Discovery Centre, Umgeni Water and other sponsors who assisted us.

“We hope to have improved this unit next year,” she said.

The pupils came back with silver medals and certificates.

Their teacher, Thoko Njoko, said that although the project was challenging because of a lack of resources, the school is very proud of the pupils.

“It is a great achievement for pupils from a township school to participate in a national competition and be able to come back with something.

“It is also motivating to other schools. Teachers from other schools should also identify pupils with talents and mentor them. We have no doubts that these pupils are future engineers,” she said.

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