July 2013
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Debates winners in New York
SA learners scoop silver in Beijing
SA scientist impresses in FameLab
Nanotech draws attention in Kenya
SAASTA salutes David Block
Science Centre CEO awarded
Young science brainpower awarded
75 years of coelacanth research
Join in recording the diversity of life
Open your own Science Spaza
The Universe is expanding
"Space Skype" links kids
Coastal and marine science in SA
Internship programme
A scientist for a day
iThemba LABS - advancing knowledge
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It's a fact!

SA learners scoop silver in Beijing science competition

When Monwabisi Dingane and Abongile Xeketwana's chemistry project excelled at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists last year, they were invited by SAASTA, in association with the Beijing Association of Science and Technology, to participate in the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition (BYSCC) in March this year.


Abongile (left) and Monwabisi (centre) in Beijing with the Manager of SAASTA's Science Education Unit, Moloko Matlala (second from left) and their new-found friends.
Monwabisi Dingane (left) and Abongile Xeketwana were awarded a silver medal for their science project at the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition.

When the two learners received the news, they couldn't believe their ears. In the midst of all the excitement they managed to pack their bags and were ready to fly off to China, accompanied by the Manager of SAASTA's Science Education Unit, Moloko Matlala.

The duo kicked off their Beijing trip with a visit to the Chinese Heritage Museum, where they were exposed to Chinese culture and history through art and architecture. When lunch was served, they had to use chopstick for the first time. "It was both amusing and embarrassing, but we soon got the hang of it and loved it," said Monwabisi.

The next day the two learners made their way to the BYSCC exhibition hall, where they had to set up their project for the competition. "When we saw the impressive science projects from other countries, it made us realise that we were participating in one of the biggest science competitions of our lives, and that we ought to enjoy every moment and learn as much as we possibly could about science and technology," said Abongile.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was in true Beijing style with bright lights and live performances. Soon after the ceremony Monwabisi and Abongile had to present their science project to the visitors. The project involved isolating oil from orange peels and using it to convert polystyrene into a polymer that can be recycled or repurposed. "We hope that our project will one day help reduce the littering of non-degradable waste in our beautiful home city, Cape Town," said Abongile.

Competition results

The two budding young scientists presented their projects to a panel of judges and to the mayor of Beijing. Although language barriers posed a challenge to the learners, they continued to excel. Their hard work and determination paid off and they were awarded the silver medal.

Both Monwabisi and Abongile commented that their BYSCC 2013 journey was hard work, yet fun. "We've learnt a lot about science and technology, and we've made lifelong friendships that we will cherish forever," they said.