KZN sci­ence pupils tri­umph

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD - KARINDA JAGMOHAN

THREE Kwazulu-natal pupils will leave their mark on the world. Their school sci­ence projects, which con­trib­ute to global de­vel­op­ment, have re­ceived in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion.

Wa­heed Aman­jee, Yashoda Naidoo and Dani Jansen van Rens­burg took part in Eskom’s Expo for Young Sci­en­tists.

Wa­heed Aman­jee, 16, rep­re­sented South Africa at the African Sci­ence Buskers Fes­ti­val in Lusaka, Zam­bia, last month.

Aman­jee, a Grade 11 pupil at Cre­ston Col­lege in Port Shep­stone, is adept in the elec­tri­cal field. The young sci­en­tist cre­ated an ap­pa­ra­tus that can har­vest elec­tri­cal en­ergy cre­ated by a per­son’s foot­steps.

“The me­chan­i­cal en­ergy is con­verted into elec­tri­cal en­ergy which can be stored in a bat­tery for later use,” said Aman­jee. He said: “We have an en­ergy prob­lem as ex­ist­ing forms are not avail­able to ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially in Africa. This ap­pa­ra­tus is af­ford­able at $2 (about R24).”

Aman­jee is to rep­re­sent Africa at a sci­ence con­ven­tion in Turkey, while Yashoda Naidoo of Lady­smith High is to fol­low her “ul­ti­mate dream” of us­ing medicine to help oth­ers. Naidoo, 16, had to bal­ance her Grade 11 home­work and ex­ten­sive sci­en­tific re­search in the run-up to last month’s Youth Sci­ence Cre­ation Com­pe­ti­tion in Bei­jing. Naidoo at­tended the con­ven­tion along with Dani Jansen van Rens­burg, a Grade 11 Hillcrest High pupil.

For months Naidoo sought a way to dis­pose of ex­pired tablets, es­pe­cially as­pirin and mi­graine pills. Through trial and er­ror, she even­tu­ally found the pills re­acted pos­i­tively when planted in cer­tain soil types.

“We of­ten throw ex­pired pills in the bin or down the drain, which harms the en­vi­ron­ment. I found a way tablets could be used in a com­post heap and con­verted into plant fer­tiliser,” she said.

Naidoo missed the group flight and had to fly alone to the Chi­nese cap­i­tal via Ethiopia. She said: “I had to be brave and it was worth it as the stan­dard of sci­ence on dis­play at the Bei­jing event was very high. Some pupils had pos­si­ble cures for can­cer. Sci­ence is the best way to ap­proach de­vel­op­ment.”

Naidoo is de­ter­mined to con­tinue with sci­ence re­search and en­ter and at­tend con­ven­tions and com­pe­ti­tions.

Jansen van Rens­burg, also 16, earned her en­try into the Bei­jing com­pe­ti­tion by cre­at­ing a blood trans­fu­sion fil­ter de­vice al­low­ing safer, cost-ef­fec­tive blood trans­fu­sions.

For ex­po­sure to the sci­ence world via the Eskom Expo for Young Sci­en­tists project, Kwazulu-natal sci­ence en­thu­si­asts can con­tact the project’s re­gional co-or­di­na­tor, Nalini Dookie, at 031 563 5617.

Yashoda Naidoo shows how to used ex­pired tablets for com­post.

Wa­heed Aman­jee makes elec­tri­cal en­ergy from foot­steps.

Dani Jansen van Rens­burg has cre­ated a blood trans­fu­sion fil­ter.

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