National Science Olympiad honours Hamandishe Mathivha
6 July 2015 – The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement announced the top learners of the 51st National Science Olympiad at the glittering awards ceremony at Emperors Palace on 02 July 2015. Outstanding winners were recognised from a range of categories such as Physical Science and Life Science.
The awards ceremony honoured South Africa’s top young science learners in 2015 in various categories such as Top National Winners for Life Sciences and Physical Sciences, Top Girl Learners, Top Learners from Previously Disadvantaged schools and Top Learners from Southern African Development Community (SADC) schools. The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) presented awards to these top achievers.
One of the outstanding learners, Hamandishe Mathivha, was awarded a special award for his achievement in the National Science Olympiad awards for three consecutive years since grade 10. He was awarded a voucher worth R40, 000.00 towards registration and tuition fees at a University of his choice.
He is one of the top five national winners in Physical Science. Mathivha came second in the Physical Science category with a score of 73% amongst other learners in grade 12 from the top private schools in the country such as Bishop High School in the Western Cape and Star College Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mathivha is a grade 12 learner at the previously disadvantaged school, Mbilwi Secondary School. He hails from the small rural town called Sibasa in Limpopo. He is a truly example of hope and determination to learners who are coming from the same background as him.
Despite coming from the school with a lack of access to resources, he managed to excel in the National Science Olympiad.
Having received these awards Mathivha shared his hopes for other learners from the same background, saying that it is possible to achieve one’s heart’s desires.
“You need to turn your disadvantages into your advantage and focus on working hard to achieve your goals and dreams,” he said.
Despite his background and challenges, Mathivha is a proud winner of the National Science Olympiad awards for the past three years and he is planning to study a Computer Science Degree at the University of Cape Town.
He serves as an inspiration to all learners for his tenacity in rising above the numerous adversities he faced and clinging onto the dream of great accomplishments.
In preparation for the Science Olympiad, Mathivha explained the difficulties in not having easy access to study material and, as a result, relied on borrowing textbooks from friends in higher grades as well as tertiary level science material.
It is this zeal that allowed Mathivha to achieve top positions in the National Science Olympiad.
The experiences he has gained through winning the Olympiad has been inspirational to him. Attending the London International Youth Science Forum in 2013 showed him the role young learners can play in shaping and influencing in the science field.
Investing into the youth is a driving force of the Managing Director of SAASTA, Dr Jabu Nukeri, who explained, “The government and the business sector can work together on identifying and nurturing talent, and thus contribute to the economy of the country and a better South Africa.”
Mathivha’s eyes opened up with excitement as he shared his dreams of the possibilities available for other aspiring young learners, such as himself to be innovative and successful in their respective fields allowing South Africa to stand out through science.
The various speakers at the awards ceremony encouraged the learners to dream big and work hard towards their goals by giving them examples of other young South Africans in the foreground of the science field, such as Siyabulela Xuza. With his passion and creativity in science, he has been honoured with a planet named after him.
Keynote speaker Minister Naledi Pandor highlighted the need for more young innovators in the science field to build into the country.
She continued to encourage the learners to not think about merely achieving nationally but to think continentally and globally. “Think about what they could do for the next generations,” she said.
Mathivha, himself having being motivated to enter the National Science Olympiad in grade 10 based on a schoolmate’s success is testimony to the positive influence young learners can have on one another to build a better future together.
The learners represented a generation of young learners with an interest in science ready to steer the country on a new road, addressing the next generation’s problems and bringing South Africa on the map in this field. The learners were a testament that although success comes easier to some than others, it is hard work and passion that will allow them to achieve.
The National Science Olympiad is one of SAASTA’s flagship projects. Since 2005, the 51-year-old project has offered learners in grades 10-12 an exciting opportunity to compete in science with fellow learners from SADC countries such as Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
The competition comprises an annual examination in science (Physical and Life Sciences). The top national performers win all-expenses-paid trips to the London International Youth Science Forum and the Australian National Youth Science Forum.
The main aim of the competition is to identify talent, to encourage excellence in science education and to stimulate interest in the sciences. It seeks to inspire young people to consider careers in science and technology.