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south african student wins google science fair, south african youngest author

Why 2016 hasn’t been all bad so far

28 October 2016 AFROPOLITAN WOMEN


This year has been both an interesting and devastating one so far. With several musical legends passing on, natural (and manmade) disasters happening around the world and the rand being on a wobbly path, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by 2016. But it really hasn’t been all that bad…

Join us in celebrating the good that came out of 2016 in two categories: girls and Mamelodi Sundowns. It’s no secret that our girls are not safe in the world. Having a world where girls are safe and free to live, dream, learn and become whatever they want to be should be our collective goal. The second part of 2016 has shown us much Girl Excellence and it’s reason to celebrate

Kiara Nirghin wins big at the Google Science Fair

This 16-year-old in grade 11 won the overall grand prize at Google’s 2016 science fair for her project
No More Thirsty Crops. Nirghin, a Johannesburg resident, created a solution that would help farmers by keeping moisture in the soil for longer. She invented an absorbent polymer, a substance that absorbs and stores large amounts of water, from orange and avocado peels. It’s a natural solution that’s also affordable.

Nirghin’s winning project is relevant and much needed, particularly here at home with the drought in the Southern African region.

Michelle Nkamankeng, youngest African author

Seven-year-old Michelle Nkamankeng is the author of the children’s book Waiting for the Waves published in October. Nkamankeng has now been listed in the top 10 of the youngest authors in the world. She is also the youngest African to make the list.

Nkamankeng’s parents decided to publish her book when the grade two learner told them she would stop writing because they just kept her manuscripts in the house. Her mother, Laurentine, had to learn the ins and outs of publishing and as a result, founded a publishing house, LANSM Publishing Ltd. Waiting for the Waves is the first in a four-part series. Three of the four books in the series have already been written.

Speaking of our girls…

More of the Chibok girls have been reunited with their families. In 2014, the extremist group Boko Haram kidnapped over 276 girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria. On 13 October this year,
a faction of Boko Haram released 21 girls and made it clear that they are willing to release 83 others who they are holding captive. The girls’ current whereabouts are still uncertain. Several girls have also managed to escape over the years.

Abafana beStyle represent

South Africa hasn’t had the best few years when it comes to national sport, especially football. Bafana Bafana have had four coaches since 2010 and failed to qualify for numerous football events. Glory has not been on the cards for South African football throughout this decade and the closest was Orlando Pirates making the final in 2013. But on 23 October, Mamelodi Sundowns sealed the deal and became South Africa’s first CAF League champions in 21 years. Sundowns previously made the CAF League final in 2001 but lost out to Egypt’s Al-Ahly.

What silver lining have you come across in 2016?


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