Young scientists to jet off to Tunisia to compete in international science fair

Monday, 20 June 2022: Young South African scientists will be competing at the International Festival of Engineering Science and Technology in Tunisia with their research which revolutionises pneumonia and skin cancer diagnosis, along with in-depth research on the physics of sound.

The festival will be held in Monastir, Tunisia from 24 to 30 June 2022 and is organised by the Tunisian Association for the future of Science and Technology. The extended nine-day programme aims to be unique, educational and fun, and will include various trips and excursions to discover the rich Tunisian culture.

The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists selected Kutlwano Tshatiwa, a 17-year-old Matric learner at Gabonewe High School in the North West province’s Bojanala region and Ethan de Wet, an 18-year-old Matric learner at Curro Durbanville in the Western Cape’s Stellenbosch region, to represent South Africa.

Tshatiwa was selected to participate in the festival because of his vast knowledge and experience in machine learning. He is a resourceful, quick learner and is mostly self-taught, making him a suitable participant for this science fair because of the fast pace and high standards. The young scientist used millions of images to test two methods of model training, i.e. a custom model and a knowledge distillation model. He found that knowledge distillation techniques outperformed the custom model in terms of accuracy.

De Wet’s project was selected for international participation because the innovation is an example of how an industry dependent on natural resources can become eco-friendly. Using 3D printing technology with biodegradable Polylactic acid (PLA), he designed and constructed speaker enclosures that could replace standard wooden ones. De Wet conducted in-depth research on the physics of sound such as sound pressure level, distortion, and the audio spectrum. This, together with his knowledge of sound engineering, helped him design and 3D print an affordable and efficient speaker enclosure.  The significance of his study is that the speaker enclosure is eco-friendly, cost effective, and gives the consumers greater flexibility to 3D print such enclosures themselves, using his designs.

Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Cecil Ramonotsi, said: “Eskom is proud to be the funder of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, a platform which continues to enable learners not only to develop themselves but to also make a positive contribution to the country through scientific knowledge.” 

“Eskom is one of the organisations that contributes to the pipeline for research, development and innovation in science and technical skills, which is needed for the bright future our country,” added Ramonotsi.

Registration to take part in the 2022 Eskom Expo is open. Learners in grades 4 to 12, along with learners from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges that are in NC2 to NC4, can register and upload their own research projects by clicking the link: To access resources and easy-to-use templates, click here:

Images of the learners can be downloaded here:

For media queries contact: Busi Megale on (+27) 83 624 1051| [email protected]


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