Finalists Kutlwano Tshatiwa and Shadia Akter. Picture: Supplied
Finalists Kutlwano Tshatiwa and Shadia Akter. Picture: Supplied

Self-taught young SA scientists finalists at science fair

By Gontse Riet Time of article published Nov 18, 2021

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Cape Town - Two of South Africa’s finest young scientists – Kutlwano Tshatiwa, a Grade 11 Gabonewe High School learner from the North West and Shadia Akter from New Orleans Secondary School in Paarl – are finalists at this year’s Buca International Music Science Engineering Energy Fair, where they are showcasing their scientific abilities virtually from November 15 to 19.

Eskom Expo executive director Parthy Chetty said the judges looked for innovative ideas, creative use of resources, as well as well-planned and executed research.

“These learners have done exceptionally well with their projects, especially during lockdown, when they did not always have access to their teachers.

“They highlight the role the youth play in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by taking on complex projects using coding they had to learn on their own,” says Chetty.

Their projects were inspired by issues faced by their communities and range from maths to research into software development.

Using C# programming language, Tshatiwa created the app “Mathgeek” in an effort to assist Grade 9 learners with maths.

Considering that many learners may struggle with data costs, he is also working on an off-line version of his app.

Kutlwano Tshatiwa

Akta, representing the Western Cape, developed “Honeycode”, an educational app, after noticing how challenging online schooling was. She cites internet connectivity and failure to meet certain goals on time as some of the major setbacks she experienced.

“Resilience, hard work, dedication, sacrifices, support, and lots of prayers to the Almighty are what got me here. I hope to continue being firm and consistent in everything I do, share positive experiences with my peers and remind them that opportunities don’t happen, you create them,” she said, quoting Chris Grosser.

Eskom group executive Nthato Minyuko congratulated the young scientists on their achievement and said: “Not only do they take to the global stage and display their talent, they also benefit from exposure to other brilliant entries from across the globe.

“It is commendable that the expo is affiliated with the most prestigious and competitive international science fairs, giving South African learners opportunities to connect with and learn from their contemporaries who are the best young minds in the world.”

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