Participants in the Science Expo with their Tru-Cape apples
Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, the largest exporter of South African apples and pears into over 104 countries and long-time champion of on-going education, contributed more than 1200 apples to an Eskom initiative to encourage the next generation of scientists as they deal with essential questions like drought relief and renewable energy.
This year’s Western Cape Eskom Expo had over 732 entrants. Young people competed for medals and the chance to go through to the International Science Fair held in October. Projects posed questions like: Which grey-water is best for plant growth? Wind vs solar power – which is more effective in producing sustainable energy? How can we increase soil absorbency? How can we monitor and reduce water flow rate?
Apart from the opportunity to meet other learners from different schools throughout the Cape, there were exhibitors from organisations like the Department of Water Affairs, the University of Cape Town (UCT) Chemistry Department, and the Centre for High Performance Computing to entertain learners, giving them glimpses into exciting careers in science.
Many projects also dealt with an essential subject for on-going food security in our country – the impact of drought – such as the conservation of water, as well as techniques for preventing evaporation and water wastage. Hussein Semvua and Zainul Africa’s invention, The Green Tap – a grey-water system that collects water as it drains from the basin and pumps it to the toilet cistern to flush the toilet – is one such solution.
Talking about how important expos like this are in dealing with large-scale challenges like drought, Luke Smith, a grade 10 learner from Rondebosch Boys High says, “Doing the research for a project, you see the numbers, which show you how bad the situation actually is. And when you understand that, you find solutions.” Nontsikelelo Dyasi, a judge at the Expo and a Masters student in Chemical Engineering at UCT, believes that we have to keep coming back to the question: Is our learning and knowledge addressing the needs of society? Is it bettering the lives of those around us? “We need to create that worldview for children,” she says, “and the Expo helps pull this message through from a young age.”
The award for the best primary school project – “A Grey-t Way to Save Water” – went to Alex Marshall, a grade 6 learner from the International School of Cape Town, reflecting the importance of this theme.
Tru-Cape’s Marketing Director, Conrad Fick,, said the company’s support for this event was in line with their commitment to supporting information sharing and quality scientific education which they also do with a global education outreach. “Tru-Cape and our growers know that on-going food security is something which requires the most up-to-date scientific thinking and knowledge and Tru-Cape applauds initiatives such as this one that encourages and rewards the next generation of scientists.”
PREPARED BY BRIAN BERKMAN PUBLICITY 083 441 8765