Grade 9 pupil Kwazi Zwezwe will represent South Africa at the Stockholm Junior Water Prize in August where he will be competing against pupils from 35 other countries.
Kwazi’s invite to the competition came after he invented the Rainmaker, a simplified version of a machine that converts air to water, for a science competition run by the Department of Water and Sanitation.
He created a prototype using a thermoelectric cooler - which is the main component of the prototype - that dehumidifies or cools the air, leading to condensation and the formation of droplets of water.
With his invention, he recently trounced his peers in the district, then the province and then from all eight other provinces to win the annual South African Youth Water Prize (SAYWP) competition.
The competition is run by the Department of Water and Sanitation under their 2020 Vision for Water Education Programme. It is aimed at educating pupils in Grades 9 to 11 to identify problems related to water in their school and communities, and to conduct research and come up with innovative recommendations to solve the problems.
“Part of my winnings at the SAYWP was a bursary for R9000, a laptop and tickets to go to Sweden,” he said.
“I want to continue studying science and invent things that will improve people’s lives,” said Kwazi.
He said he was very excited about going overseas.
“This will be the first time that I am travelling out of the country.”
His physical science teacher, Richard Agyemang-Boadu, who oversaw the project, was full of praise. “He is a very hard-working pupil. When you give him advice, he takes it that way.
“During the competition, the adjudicators were so impressed by his presentation that for three minutes they clapped for him.
“They were quite impressed that while most participating teams worked in groups of three, Kwazi and another pupil from Mpumalanga worked as individuals.
“The pupils were all in Grade 11, Kwazi was the only one in Grade 9,” he said.
“The Rainmaker is purposely made for local people who cannot buy existing ones, which are costly, with a minimum price of R25000.
“This, if the real model is adopted by municipalities, can produce more sustainable water for rural people at a cheaper cost,” he said.
Sputnik Ratau, the spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation, said: “When Kwazi put this to test, 1.2 litres of water was collected in 24 hours.
“The water collected is as good as rainwater, and thus can be used for cleaning, washing and lawn irrigation.”