LIKE many developing countries, South Africa faces complex socio-economic challenges, such as the unemployment crisis, the consequences of climate change, through to enhancing public health, providing enough food to feed the nation and creating sustainable energy sources.
The above are just a few of the many issues that need to be resolved as a nation.
Sasol TechnoX, South Africa’s premier Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths, and Innovation (STEAMI) career exhibition, proudly announced its 21st edition, which took place from 14th – 18th of August 2023. Organised annually by the Sasol Foundation, TechnoX was set to provide a hands-on experience for learners, showcasing the diverse disciplines and exciting career opportunities offered by science, mathematics, and technology.
Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Buti Manamela explained that the integration of STEAMI disciplines gives a powerful set of tools that can be used to answer questions, explore the answer and change the world.
Manamela encouraged matric students to apply for courses that will empower them to assist in pushing South Africa forward.
Head of the Sasol Foundation, Noxolo Kahlana, discussed how young visionaries and entrepreneurial trailblazers are stepping up to offer innovative solutions to the challenges South Africa is currently facing.
Kahlana said the Sasol TechnoX event emphasised how young people can become agents of positive change in their communities and beyond.
“We should not have limits to our dreams. It is only if we remove the barriers that we can be able to achieve, innovate, create and build a better country,’’ he said.
“Each of our speakers is doing remarkable work to resolve some of the biggest challenges society faces, from climate change and corruption to public healthcare and food security,”Kahlana said.
The event had young innovators in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Innovation (STEAMI) fields who presented at their TechnoX 2023.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), every year, 10 million tonnes of food go to waste in South Africa. This accounts for a third of annual production.
Besides wasting food in a country where so many go hungry, wasted food also has a detrimental impact on the environment via landfills and unnecessary carbon emissions.
One of the speakers was Rich Sibusiso Hlatswayo, the founder of Me2You. This social entrepreneurship venture combines a meal kit delivery service with a virtual food bank that gives free food to those in need.
In addition to tackling food poverty, the platform mitigates the environmental impact of food waste. Hlatswayo spoke about ‘Empowering Lives Through Technology and Innovation’.
“Corruption is a major threat to growth and stability in South Africa. Consequences include loss of business confidence, misappropriation of funds meant to uplift the poor or build infrastructure, and erosion of international investor confidence—all decreasing quality of life and economic growth. STEAMI innovators are looking at ways to address endemic corruption,” said Kahlana.
Zime Nosipho Nxumalo is founder and owner of Zime Wezwe Creatives, a software development company under the guidance of Innobiz Durban University of Technology (DUT).
Zime Wezwe Creatives has created a solution that aims to combat corruption and facilitate transparency within the real estate transaction process. Nxumalo spoke about ‘Blockchain Technology: A Game-Changer for Real Estate’.
Kahlana explained that medical technology is improving all the time, but high costs mean that it is not accessible to everyone.
“Limited resources mean that many people still face long waiting times and crowded hospitals and clinics when they seek even basic services like X-rays. Twin sisters, Matlhogonolo and Masego Mphahlele, have invented digital X-ray glasses as a portable X-ray solution to help patients have quicker hospital visits,” she said.
Matlhogonolo and Masego Mphahlele spoke on ‘Visionaries in Sync: Medical Care with ‘Digital X-ray Glasses’
“With TechnoX, we aim to create a space where future innovators can be inspired by how they can help solve society’s problems and change the world for the better.
“What better way to do this than to spin a spotlight on remarkable young South Africans who are leaders in their respective fields and have made significant strides in the world of STEAMI,” said Kahlana.