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ESKOM/STEM Academy Learner Shines at 2024 Africa Science Buskers Festival



ESKO/STEM Academy Learner Shines at 2024 Africa Science Buskers Festival

ESKOM/STEM Academy Learner Shines at 2024 Africa Science Buskers Festival. The STEM Academy, a project established by the Central University of Technology (CUT) in partnership with the Free State Department of Education, continues to make significant strides in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education among South African learners. One such success story is Mr Tshepo Lenkoe, a grade 12 learner from Senakangwedi Secondary School in Botshabelo, who recently achieved remarkable success at the 2020 Africa Science Buskers Festival.

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The STEM Academy and Its Impact

The STEM Academy, a collaborative effort between CUT and the Free State Department of Education, aims to enhance school curriculum delivery and foster a passion for STEM subjects among learners. Through this initiative, learners are exposed to engaging science experiments and receive mentorship from experienced science experts. In 2024, CUT partnered with the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, further enriching the program by providing mentorship from CUT academics to primary and secondary school learners. These mentors assist learners in developing science projects that address challenges within their communities.

Tshepo Lenkoe Success Story

Tshepo Lenkoe journey to success began at the Free State Regional Science Fair held at CUT’s Boet Troskie Hall in 2019, where he won a gold medal. His groundbreaking project involved the development of a prototype umbrella capable of converting solar energy into electrical energy. Tshepo innovation, named ‘Five Steps into the Future,’ not only impressed judges at the regional fair but also earned him recognition at the 2024 Africa Science Buskers Festival, where he was awarded a coveted gold medal and a cash prize.

The Role of the Eskom Expo/STEM Academy Science Camps

Tshepo is a participant in the Eskom Expo/STEM Academy Science Camps, launched at CUT in February 2020. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tshepo and other young scientists continued to receive virtual support and mentorship from the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering and the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education at CUT. This support was instrumental in guiding Tshepo towards his remarkable invention.

Acknowledging Support and Mentorship

Mr Nicho Swartz, the Provincial Coordinator for the Eskom Expo, played a pivotal role in identifying Tshepo’s project’s potential and connecting him with the CUT Centre of Sustainable Smart Cities (CSSC) and the STEM Academy for guidance. The CSSC, known for its research in developing technology for sustainable cities, provided Tshepo with scientific guidance to enhance his project specifications. Dr Izabeth Conradie, Manager of CUT Ideas Generator, recognized the commercial potential of these projects and provided training in business and entrepreneurship skills to help innovators like Tshepo bring their ideas to market.

Looking Ahead

Dr Nicolaas Luwes, an activity leader at the CSSC, highlighted the importance of nurturing young scientists like Tshepo, stating that their focus on STEM could significantly enhance South Africa’s industrial capabilities. With the rise of Industry 4.0, Tshepo’s innovative spirit and dedication to STEM serve as a beacon of hope for future generations of South African innovators.


Tshepo Lenkoe success story exemplifies the impact of initiatives like the STEM Academy and the Eskom Expo in inspiring young learners to pursue excellence in STEM fields. Through mentorship, support, and a passion for innovation, Tshepo has not only excelled academically but has also demonstrated the potential for young South Africans to drive technological advancements and shape a brighter future for their communities and the nation as a whole.

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