by Marisa Louw

Calculating Achievement

Gauteng maths student crowned as best in the country

Gold medal winners
The countries top maths students

The South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) is the largest of its kind in the country and is sponsored by the Harmony Gold Mining Company. This prestigious event was co-ordinated by The South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) which acts as the national office for mathematics within the country. 

Dylan Nelson, a Grade 12 learner at Benoni High School (Gauteng), was honored with the Gold medal in the senior division of the Olympiad. 

“Because it is the last year I was able to take part in the SAMO, I am really happy that I ended my mathematics Olympiad journey on such a high note.”  He has been taking part in mathematics Olympiads for the majority of his school career and was also a member of the South African team that competed at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Argentina earlier this year.

Kimberley (Northern Cape) also boasted a winner. Lourens Van Niekerk, a Grade 9 learner at Hoerskool Diamantveld, was thrilled when he received the Gold medal in the junior division.

“Having reached this point in my Olympiad journey is the reward of hard work and dedication. I believe that through the act of doing one gains valuable experience and because I see myself as an analytical thinker who happens to love mathematics, I have faith in my ability to one day come out top in the senior division.” 

Prof Nic Heideman, Chairperson of the SAMO Committee, is delighted at the overall results from this year’s participants. 

“South Africa has world-class mathematicians and participants have proven this by achieving excellent results at the IMO as well as getting overall second place at this year’s Pan African Mathematical Olympiad (PAMO).”

Prof Poobhalan Pillay, Emeritus Professor at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) said that to be identified as a top tenner, from a starting field over 60 000 learners, is no mean achievement.

“In many ways the proofs in Mathematics are works of art, invoking precise mathematical language, fine logic and calculations to verify hypotheses. Mathematics, music, poetry and Fine Art have much in common; they are all aesthetic. When viewed from this perspective, the subject is often dubbed as the Queen of all Sciences. On the other hand, she is also an handmaid to a number of disciplines, providing the tools required to address problems that occur from time to time.”

Other noteworthy awards were that of the best previously disadvantaged school that went to Capricorn High School in Polokwane and the best performing school that was awarded to Star College in Durban.  

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This edition

Issue 58