CAPE TOWN- The Eskom Expo provides a platform for the learners to increase their awareness and knowledge of science and also hopes to encourage them to pursue careers in the sciences by igniting a passion for innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In its 37th year, the Eskom Expo is endorsed by the Department of Public Enterprises, Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Basic Education and has also received recognition from the Presidency. At the event, learners present their scientific research work to judges, professionals from the private sector, academics, scientists and the general public.
Stellenbosch Regional Science Fair Director, Erika Hoffman, is proud of the support the Eskom Expo offers its participants. “We have learners who took part in the Eskom Expo who are now at honours and masters level at university and they are still busy with the same topic. Once something really gets their attention, they are incredibly passionate about it,” she says.
“My favourite part of the Eskom Expo is that you are grouped into categories so I can speak to all the other chemistry students around me and see their projects. This allows ideas to flow, and you can have conversations that stimulate scientific thought,” says grade 12 learner Fransie Albert Streicher from Curro Durbanville, who won the Eskom Expo Best Male Award. In researching his project on the hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids in microbial fuel cells, he believes he has made an important discovery that he wants to investigate further at university.
Nqobile Mmope and Zethu Mavoana, grade 10 learners from Rhenish Girls High who won the Eskom Energy Efficiency Award agree that the value of the Eskom Expo lies in meeting other young scientists and seeing the bright ideas that people come up with. “It’s really interesting to see other people’s creativity. I really like meeting new people, especially people smarter than me. It gives me hope for the future,” says Mavoana.
The duo has invented “The Ficycle” – which is a bicyle-like contraption that goes under a desk which you pedal to generate electricity to power a desk fan.
Other highly coveted Eskom special prizes went to Elizabeth Marie Smith, a grade 9 learner from Bloemhoef High School for Girls, won the Eskom Expo Best Energy Award for her project, “Songeld”. The Eskom Expo Best Female Award went to Tyla Wiggins a grade 10 learner from Rhenish Girls High, for her project titled “Re-garettes”. The Eskom Expo Best Development project went to Ntokozo Sikosana, a grade 7 learner from Spurwing Primary School for her project on shack fires.