Samphiwa Halala: Whizz kid turns her math tables idea into business
A nine-year-old girl is changing the face of mathematics around the world as we know it and in the process helping many struggling kids her age beat multiplication.
Samphiwa Halala, a Grade 4 pupil at Jacaranda College, a private school in Centurion, has developed a set of cards, sold at R20 a set, offering various tricks to work out sums.
The aspirant scientist told Sunday World she became frustrated with her cousin, who she spends plenty of time with, who couldn't remember his times tables.
So, she taught him a few of the tricks she knows and drew hand gestures on paper to help him remember.
Samphiwa explains that her tricks force one to use their hands instead of the old and tired way of trying to memorise these sums.
She said these tricks force your brain to work and retain the information.
With the first sales of her cards, Samphiwa bought 100 pairs of school shoes and distributed them to children at a school in Maclear, in the Eastern Cape, where her mom comes from.
"I hope to do more charity work and help kids struggling with what I find simple. That makes me happy," said the little whizz kid.
Samphiwa participated in a mathematics competition in Thailand last year and came second. This year she wrote her Independent Examinations Board exams in science and maths, for which she again attained distinctions.
Her mom Bulelwa said she was concerned at one point because her daughter spent hours in front of the computer surfing the internet. "We had fights because she was constantly finishing the data. I had no idea that she was using the internet to research maths hacks."
It wasn't until Bulelwa's sister confessed just how much Halala's tricks had helped her son, she said.
"She said her son had improved rapidly. She asked Samphiwa to show her how she helped him. Samphiwa showed her the drawings she had made on paper and Samphiwa then said she wished she could help more children.
"That's when my sister suggested we turn her dream into a reality," said Bulelwa.
After helping her daughter conceptualise the idea and getting the cards printed, Bulelwa shared it with her Grade 1 teacher, Belinda Sanders.
"She was the one who spotted Samphiwa's gift back then but always said how shy she was to speak in front of the class even though she always had the right answers. We kept in touch and I sent the cards to her. She posted it on Facebook and it just took off.
"We managed to sell 700 sets already and the demand is growing, with interest as far as the US," said the proud mom.