Mbombela – Three pupils have been given a second chance to represent Mpumalanga in a national water conservation competition and possibly bring home first prize.
Lydenburg Combined School Grade 10 pupils Tshiamo Mabelane, Adriaan Van Rooyen and Carol Munro won the provincial leg of the South African Youth Water Prize (SAYWP) last week. Last year, the team came third in the national SAYWP.
“We have rectified the mistakes we made last year. This time around we came up with a new and realistic project that will take the judges by surprise,” said Mabelane.
Mabelane said last year her team had to compete with Grade 11 pupils while they were only doing Grade 9.
She said this year her team brought more experience and knowledge, which would guarantee them the first prize.
“Our project addresses alien plants which are becoming a huge problem in our community and we hope that the project will make us bring the national trophy home,” said Mabelane, who is dreaming of taking up a water management career in the future.
The competition is a department of water affairs initiative and is aimed at promoting water use efficiency, water conservation and demand management, and taking care and protecting the water resources.
To become part of SAYWP, pupils were asked to identify a water-related problem in their communities and develop a science project that would provide a solution to the identified problem.
Regional water affairs spokesman Themba Khoza wished the team the best.
“This was not about winning as the pupils have already assisted us with some brilliant ideas that we can also apply in our water projects. We are also happy that in the process of their presentations, the pupils seem to be displaying talent in public speaking,” said Khoza.
Project coordinator Thami Mndawe said the initiative has, over the past 13 years, assisted South Africa to develop technological inventions that have helped minimise challenges within the water sector.
He said judges were also looking at the confidence and presentation skills of the pupils.
“The teachers have done a great job in identifying the pupils. From what we have seen, the pupils have come up with realistic challenges and have also managed to come up with practical solutions that will be helpful in their communities,” said Mndawe.
The winners of the national competition will walk away with bursaries from the water affairs department and laptops from the Water Research Commission.
“The project is part of the national 2020 Vision for Water Education programme, which targets science and technology pupils between grades 9 and 11,” said Khoza. – Siphiwe Nyathi, BuaNews