Meet Lawhill’s young innovators

Two Grade 10 students from Simon’s Town School and the Lawhill Maritime Centre, Bokamoso Molale and Thamsanqa (Thami) Hoza, have taken second place in the prestigious 3M and Hip2B2 South African Young Innovators of the Year competition held in October.

The competition – which was won by a team from Durban Boys High – engages Grade 10 learners from around 100 schools across South Africa in a series of problem-solving workshops designed to nurture an appreciation for science and mathematics in overcoming everyday challenges that affect them and their communities.

Our students – who represented the Western Cape in the national competition – designed a shower-nozzle solution to provide warm showers to those who do not have access to adequate geyser-heated water.

The ‘Hot Nozzle’ is a portable, battery-operated shower attachment that heats dispersed cold water through an internal heating element through the conversion of chemical potential energy.

The two young students – whose homes are in Welkom – are currently boarding at the Simon’s Town School’s Lawhill Maritime Centre, having received a bursary for their Grade 10 studies from the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

According to Ms Linda Ferreira, a Mathematics teacher at Simons Town School and a duty teacher at Lawhill: “This is the second year that the school has participated in the Hip2B2/3M competition and we are delighted that Thami and Bokamoso’s  innovative ideas, combined with their many hours of hard work, planning and research, have resulted in them achieving success in this competition.”

Both Thami and Bokamoso are currently the top Grade 10 students at both Simons Town School and the Lawhill Maritime Centre, where they achieved distinctions in distinctions mathematics, physical science, maritime economics and nautical sciences, amongst others. They also participated in the UCT Maths Olympiad in April this year.

Commenting on the contribution the School’s educators had made in helping them achieve their success, Bokamoso and Thami said:  “Mrs Ferreira opened the door for us to create this innovation by exposing and informing us about the competition, encouraging us every step of the way which only made us work harder at the project.

“Mrs Alexander, our Physical Sciences teacher, assisted us with the technical details by helping us understand the science concepts that would help us improve our innovation.

“We are truly grateful for the support they gave us.”

The two young innovators are now hoping to obtain funding that will help them develop their Hot Nozzle for production.

Take 5 with Bokomoso and Thami

  1. What was the highlight of the competition:

Presenting our innovation to an expert panel of judges, people who know about science and technology (Thami); Creating the prototype on the 3D printer and learning new software (Bokomoso). We also enjoyed the camaraderie and competitiveness between the other finalists.

  1. How did the name ‘Hot Nozzle’ come about and was the Hot Nozzle your first idea?

We had different ideas before we came up with the hot shower idea, which came to us, close to the deadline of the competition, when we returned to the hostel from Welkom in the middle of winter.   The name, Hot Nozzle, was the first name we came up with.

  1. What did you learn from the experience?

The importance of improvising and thinking on your feet when doing a live presentation (Thami); how important a good presentation and good presentation skills are when you selling your idea. The better your presentation, the more convincing you are. (Bokomoso).  And, of course, that hard work pays off!

  1. Were you disappointed taking second place?

Not at all.  We were very proud to have made it to the finals, considering we were competing against some of the best schools in the country.

  1. What’s next?

We want to develop the Hot Nozzle and also encourage future Grade 10s to participate in the competition. We want to encourage them to be innovative and to use innovation to solve problems. We shouldn’t wait for others to solve problems; we need to find the solutions ourselves because doing so brings benefit to both yourself and to other people.”