Innovative Stuart Ntlathi helps youth realise their dreams

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Popularity encourages Stuart Ntlathi to remain humble and strive to do better in mathematics, physical science, engineering and technology.

Ntlathi, who is the overall winner of the 2007 Old Mutual, SABC and Sowetan Community Builder of the Year Award, has won many accolades for being a great ambassador for youth involvement and achievement in the sciences.

For the overall winner's mantle, Ntlathi - who is also a youth category winner - pipped other category winners of the Community Builder of the Year Award, namely adult category winner Noriah Mabunda of Limpopo, senior section winner Maria Manoto of Gauteng and group category winner Motsilu Boima of Limpopo.

Ntlathi runs the Stuart Ntlathi Science, Engineering and Technology Institute together with 17 other youths. The institute is based at Matlosane in Klerksdorp, North West.

Arrogance has no room in Ntlathi's life, he declares, because "my strength is in teamwork and I am a team player".

When an interviewer said Ntlathi seemed to be destined for bigger things as an inventor, innovator and motivator, Ntlathi retorts, politely: "It is the Stuart Ntlathi Science, Engineering and Technology Institute that is destined for bigger things, because I am merely the advocate and ambassador of that excellence that can be encouraged in youths when they are given a chance to make choices."

Ntlathi has also won first place and overall winner trophies for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 North West Premier Youth Awards; the 2007 Ukhozi FM IT Awards; the 2005 Matlosane Mayor's Community Awards; the 2007 Jet Stores Community Awards, as well as the 2004 Score Young Community Shapers Awards.

"I am glad that the various awards have helped to shine a deserving spotlight on the work that is being done by the institute to encourage a greater number of youths - especially girls - to take an interest in mathematics, physical science, technology and engineering," Ntlathi said.

Speaking at a gala event celebrating the institute's seventh anniversary, Ntlathi added: "I am proud that we have helped stage the olympiads, holiday camps and career guidance workshops for almost 17000 youths in North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and several overseas countries between 2000 and 2007."

Some of Ntlathi's inventions are a 14-in-1 microwave oven, an air-cooling umbrella, a portable shoe polisher and buffer as well as an electronic vuvuzela.

Ntlathi says he is gunning for the Presidential youth awards in 2008, "and thereafter we will be qualifying for the UN Youth Awards sometime next year".