Three matric pupils from Pitso Letlhogile Secondary School received university bursaries after they excelled in a provincial water conservation competition held in Mahikeng on Monday.
The annual provincial competition is held by the department of water and sanitation in the North West region but it extends to national and international levels as well.
The three winners, Rebaone Otukile, Lesego Monageng and Masedi Motlangwane, were offered full bursaries to study any water-related courses at universities of their choice.
These bursaries are in line with the department’s 2020 Vision for Water and Sanitation Education Programme aimed at teaching pupils about the efficient use of water and protection of water sources.
Dubbed the South African Youth Water Prize, the competition attracted presentations from a number of schools in the province.
However, adjudicators settled for the three from Pitso Letlhogile.
For their efforts, they will each receive a laptop and bursaries which will cover accommodation, books and pocket money from first year until they complete their studies.
The department is offering to employ them upon completion of their studies for a period of three years so that they gain work experience.
The Pitso Letlhogile trio designed a foot operating toilet system that was hailed as a revolutionary idea that could help provide better sanitation and save water at the same time.
Speaking after they were declared winners, Otukile said that it was an emotional and overwhelming experience for the three.
“I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity presented to us by the department. We have been working very hard for a long time and nearly gave up three weeks leading before the competition,” Otukile said.
Otukile also said that the trio would improve their design as they prepare for the national competition in Pretoria on May 19.
The ultimate goal for the three is to go all the way and represent South Africa at an international level where pupils from other countries will compete in Stockholm, Sweden, later in the year.
“We hope to win the national competition and represent the province of North West and the entire country in Sweden,” Otukile said.
Addressing the pupils from all schools represented at the competition, Peter Mogosetso, the project manager for 2020 programme, expressed his gratitude to teachers and officials who are dedicated to equipping youth with valuable information that they can arm themselves with into the future.
“Nothing limits you, all you have to do is study hard to meet the requirements of any university and enrol for any water-related course. Those of you who did not win today, you are encouraged to apply directly for bursaries at the department,” Mogosetso said.
The competition is one of the projects that the department implemented in its education programme called 2020 Vision for Water Education Programme.
This project is aimed at educating grades 9 to 11 pupils about the use and protection of water sources.