By Ikhona Mvaphantsi
Nozipho Zikhali, award-winning scientist, enjoys playing with her two dogs, Jojo and Jayjay, but she would also love to own a cat one day. What does a scientist do in her spare time? She watches YouTube videos on science, and reads books – oh, and she enjoys eating!
Nozipho’s advice to other young girls? “Follow your dreams and do what makes you happy.”
I asked the scientist’s mom, Lungile Shobe-Zikhali, what she did differently to spark her daughter’s interest in on science. She explained that she started reading to Nozipho even before she was six months old. Her message to parents is to “let your children read on subjects that are of interest to them”. She explained: “Reading is a foundation for everything and it encourages curiosity. When children read it opens an opportunity for them to ask questions and see how to best deal with issues they get confronted with. Also they see how other people deal with similar issues.”
She added that parents must also be okay with losing personal time to helping their kids reach their potential or explore their dreams.
Sharing the podium with Nozipho was Kamogelo Makgobo Rakgetse, also an awardee of the Eskom Expo competition.
Kamogelo’s advice to other 17-year-old boys from disadvantaged backgrounds like himself is that “your background is no limitation to the endless possibilities that are out there”. His interest was ignited while growing up in an area that always had lots of broken down cars and things needing to be fixed. This presented an opportunity to be motivated to do better and improve the situation he was in.
Kamogelo adds: “One should follow their heart and do everything you love and do not let friends deter you from your goals.”
Full details of their research work and the Eskom Expo competition are at: