Meet the genius SA teens who invented a fire-proof shack, designed a satellite and self-published a book


If there's one thing we can take from their achievements, it's that young women should understand that their successes in society are all achievable without sacrificing their femininity. 

READ MORE: 5 reasons we know that the future is female

Gabriella Mogale invents a fire-proof shack

This matriculant from Collegiate Girls' High School in Port Elizabeth designed a groundbreaking way to insulate shacks and make them fire resistant.

Her project was inspired by the fires that ravaged through Knysna last year and she invented it in such a way that it would not go up in flames if a blaze was started inside‚ outside or near it, reports Times Live.

Although she didn't think her idea was good enough to enter into the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists‚ her science teacher persuaded her otherwise.

"It didn’t seem compatible with all the other projects. You might not think it’s a great idea but someone else may see something in it‚” her teacher said.

Speaking to the local paper, she said:

“When I saw the Knysna fires‚ I thought ‘why hasn’t someone done something about this because for years‚ informal settlements have been going up in flames'".

She came up with the concept, did the research and created a small shack to test her idea all over a period of just one month.

Although her invention is still in the early stages, the great thing about it is that if it were to be put into practice, it would be inexpensive and something people can make themselves," she says.

Brittany Bull and Sesam Mngqengqiswa with their team, designed South Africa’s first privately-owned satellite into space

Read that again, and again – and let it sink in. 

The launch was set to take place in 2017, and using information collected from the device, this means they will be able to collect agricultural data, helping the agricultural sector and African countries at large to improve their food security and plan for disasters.

In the video below, Bull explains her love for science started when she discovered how it could lead to solutions to major problems. More importantly, she emphasises the importance of creating more programmes for women so that they can be empowered with science. 

The girls are part of the Meta Economic Development Organisation (MEDO) space programme in the Western Cape, and the non-profit organisation launched the space programme in June 2015 with the aim of encouraging young women to enter cientific fields, a rapidly growing area where women are highly underrepresented.

One of the girls participating in the project, Sesam Mngqengqiswa, has also been thriilled by the unique opportunity, saying:

"Discovering space and seeing the Earth's atmosphere, it's not something many black Africans have been able to do, or do not get the opportunity to look at. I want to see these things for myself. I want to be able to experience these things," says Mnggenggiswa.

READ MORE: Foschini to sell doll South African girls can actually relate to

Ripfumelo Nkomo is a self-published author at just 15 years old

Writing manuscripts as early as eight years old, now 16-year-old Nkomo is now the author of her first book, Indulge in the Profound.

The teenage writer and public speaker tackles issues that surround her on a daily basis – identity, self-worth, you name it. It's a 91-page exploration where she questions everything around her. She indulges in "the curious, the deep and the unknown".

In an interview with SABC Digital News, she says reading "princess books" at a young age made her realise that the literary genre for kids was very limited; that telling young girls to be princesses was somewhat unfair. I

nstead, what little girls should be told, she says, is that they can and should be businesswomen, entrepreneurs or part of a movement that brings about transition.

She wants other girls to look at her and say, "If this girl can do it, so can I".

Do you know of any inspiring African teenagers making waves in the world? Share them with us here.

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our hot stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
22% - 692 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 285 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
50% - 1570 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 40 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 562 votes