Six grade 9 pupils have created a prototype of a street sweeper robot to clean up their township, Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg.
Samantha Koata, 15, Palesa Mogaoa, 14, Mabusa Ramakgwakgwa, 14, Kgothatso Maanaso, 15, France Mpempe, 15, Seleka Selamolela, 15, and Gift Gafane, 15, who all attend Diepsloot Combined School, said they were inspired by seeing streets filled with litter in their community.
"We saw a lot of dumping on the streets and kids would get hurt by glass and car tyres would get punctured," Mpempe said.
"Once a child has been harmed by something because of the litter and glass, they have to go to the clinic and that puts strain on the clinic because it could have been prevented."
Mpempe said issues in Diepsloot have a domino effect because a dirty environment creates problems such as illness. The robot, which was built to look like a truck, was created after 15 weeks of the A1 and Robotics for the Future training programme by educational specialist i-Innovate.
"It took us four days to create the robot. We had to balance it to make sure it doesn't collapse when it picks up the litter," Mpempe said.