Carnar­von youth dreams about stars

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Amu Chauke

THE AS­TRON­OMY hub that is tak­ing place in the Ka­roo is not only trans­form­ing sci­ence but also dra­mat­i­cally chang­ing lives.

On course to be­com­ing an as­tronomer from the Ka­roo, 21-yearold Janethon de Klerk’s jour­ney has not been smooth sail­ing.

Af­ter grow­ing up with her grand­par­ents in the small North­ern Cape town of Van Wyksvlei, she moved to Carnar­von and en­rolled in Grade 10 at Carnar­von High School. At the time, she moved in with her sin­gle mother, who is a do­mes­tic worker.

Things started to look up when she got a bur­sary from the Square Kilo­me­tre Ar­ray South Africa (SKA SA) in 2014 be­fore start­ing Grade 11. The bur­sary also in­cludes hos­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion and scholar sup­port.

She con­tin­ued to do well in her stud­ies and re­ceived a ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion bur­sary from SKA SA.

Janethon is study­ing to­wards as BSc de­gree in physics and math­e­mat­ics at the Univer­sity of the Free State. In her first year of study she achieved three dis­tinc­tions for com­puter lit­er­acy, math­e­mat­ics and chem­istry. In an in­ter­view with De Klerk said her first se­mes­ter was her tough­est chal­lenge – but thanks to the sup­port she re­ceived from her fam­ily and the SKA SA school pro­gramme co-or­di­na­tor, Chantel Mathi­son, she not only pulled through but ex­celled.

De Klerk is one of the many North­ern Cape stu­dents to re­ceive bur­saries from the SKA project of­fice.

Dur­ing the re­cent launch of the 64-dish MeerKAT ra­dio tele­scope in Carnar­von, Deputy Pres­i­dent David Mabuza said 961 bur­saries in sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing have been awarded so far. This in­cludes 133 bur­saries for re­cip­i­ents from other African coun­tries.

“Next year is my third year, then I will have my un­der­grad com­puter sci­ence de­gree. I also want to in­clude as­tron­omy mod­ules in my Hon­ours year,” said De Klerk, ex­plain­ing how her stud­ies and her ex­po­sure to the SKA SA have sparked her de­ter­mi­na­tion to aim for the stars and be­come an as­tronomer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.