All of the South African scientists who competed in the 39th Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition (BYSCC) impressed judges, winning second prizes in their respective categories.
The big winner was Phoebe Mgxaji, 16, from Macassar Secondary School in Macassar in the Stellenbosch region, who scooped a silver medal in the bio medical science category. Phoebe received an additional prize, the Youth Science and Technology Innovation special award, sponsored by the Beijing district government. This special award included a cash prize of RMB 2000 (about R4291,46 at the time).
“I feel honoured to have been awarded the special award and the silver medal. I know that there were many people who had great projects in the competition, but to have been chosen as deserving a medal, I honestly do feel honoured. I am also thankful to everyone who had helped me throughout this project, because without them I most probably wouldn’t have gotten where I am now,” says Mgxaji, whose research centres around consumers not understanding the information on food labels.
Liyema Tyutu, 15, from Enduku PJS School in Engcobo, Eastern Cape’s project looks at improving a vehicle’s headlights so it is not blinding to oncoming traffic. Liyema won a silver medal in the environmental science and engineering in the Beijing competition.
“I'm so proud of myself that I was awarded a silver medal, because I managed to come home with something out of all the projects that were there, and putting South Africa on the map,” says Tyutu. “It was so nice and enjoyable to be in Beijing, because I never thought in my life that one day I'll cross the border. Thank you to Eskom Expo for the support, and wonderful work they've done for us,” she adds.
The project by Ilané du Plessis, 16, and Ansonel du Toit, 16, from Hoërskool Waterkloof in Pretoria looked at the chemicals that find their way into swimming pools and how they react with the chlorine added. The duo won silver medals in the biochemistry and molecular biology category at the BYSCC.
“We feel very happy about our achievements and honoured to win such an amazing prize at such a prestige science competition on an international level,” says Du Plessis.
“I would encourage other learners to take part by sharing the positive experience I had with science expos. Through your preparation of your project you learn and acquire very valuable skills,” adds Du Toit.
The four budding young scientists previously showcased their science projects at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF) in October 2018, and won their place to represent South Africa in the Beijing competition after being nominated by a panel of academics and professionals. All four impressed judges with their ingenuity, depth of knowledge and mastery of inquiry methodology.
Parthy Chetty, Eskom Expo Executive Director says: “Eskom Expo for young scientists provides a platform for young scientists like these 4 girls, to pursue their passion in science. They have competed among the best in the world and have won. This is a stark reminder to all young learners that if you want to be successful in life, pursue your dreams and take advantage of opportunities like Eskom Expo.”