Our smartest young pupils

Rethabile Mateka

Rethabile Mateka

Meet the venturesome young geniuses of Gauteng who were honoured for their creativity and inventiveness.

Metropolitan Racaull High School pupils Rafeah Mangera, Shazia Akhalwaya, Azeezah Saloojee, Mahomed Ozayr Abdulla and Muhamed Kola are the overall winners of the yearly Smart Young Mindz Challenge.

They won R50000 for their well-researched project. Each pupil received R8 000, a cellphone worth R1000 and R5000 went to their school.

Pupils were required to tackle challenges including:

lDeveloping a slang dictionary;

lHighlighting Gauteng's reputation as a multicultural, multilingual and politically diverse cosmopolis;

lFormulating innovative alternative power sources; and

lProviding water recycling solutions.

The challenge, which is open to Gauteng pupils in grades 8, 9 and 10, is a corporate social investment and responsibility programme of Blue IQ and the Gauteng government.

It is supported by Gauteng's education department and Sowetan - who have made it a part of the youth development activities of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

Mondeor High School came second and won R30000, of which R5000 will go to the school. Each pupil will get R4000 and a cellphone.

The R20000 third prize went to Pretoria Girls High. Each pupil will get R2 000 and a cellphone and the school will get R5000. The fourth place went to Fundulwazi Secondary School.

More than 160 schools entered the challenge and 15 schools got to the finals.

Guest speaker Jonathan Jansen encouraged pupils to embrace the diversity of all South Africans and use it as a tool to think smart.

"You should not choose friends by the colour of the skin but by the content of their character.

The professor urged pupils to invent products that will benefit the majority.

Smart Young Mindz Challenge partners Blue IQ, Sowetan and the education department have formed the SYM Alumni Club.

Made up of past winners, the club will encourage high school pupils to develop an interest in maths, physical science, engineering, technology, innovation and invention.

Its objectives include:

lKeeping track of winners until tertiary level and beyond;

lProviding pupils with activities and encouraging them to choose careers in science, engineering and technology;

lProviding members with a platform to discuss science, engineering and technology-related issues, and careers in these technical fields; and

lSupporting members by providing mentorship.

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