Stuart Nhlathi is not yet 30, but he is leading his own science, engineering and technology institute and is a finalist in the prestigious Old Mutual, SABC and Sowetan Community Builder of the Year Award.
Conceived by the late former Sowetan editor-in-chief Dr Aggrey Klaaste in 1991, the award honours people who unselfishly give of their time and talent to improve the quality of life for others. The award highlights how volunteers' efforts serve to motivate and inspire other people to become nation-builders.
Symbolising selfless young and mature individuals and groups in our communities, Nhlathi leads the Stuart Nhlathi Science, Engineering and Technology Institute at Matlosane near Klerksdorp in North West.
His institute helps to create and strengthen public understanding of science, engineering, technology and mathematics.
Nhlathi is a rising innovator and inventor of a signature invention. He invented a 15 in 1 microwave oven and several other inventions, all aimed to make life easy for the modern family.
He won a whopping R60000 in the North West leg of the Community Builder of the Year Award after topping the youth category. Nhlathi was chosen the overall winner in the province.
He has also won the 2004 National Young Community Shapers and 2005 North West Youth Premier Awards for science. Both these awards display the young man's vision and leadership potential. But Nhlathi modestly deflected all the attention from his admirers.
Nhlathi said: "My personal vision is not to see my work in, and through the institute benefit me alone, but to help all those young people in South Africa who love science and technology."