Carnarvon science buff could compete in the World Robotics Olympiad

Zainaldo de Bruin (15) from Carnarvon won gold in the regional leg in Cape Town earlier this month.

Zainaldo de Bruin pictured with his mother and relative at their Carnarvon home. Picture: Leanne de Bassompierre.

CARNARVON - A Northern Cape teenager is headed to the national finals of the World Robotics Olympiad next month.

Fifteen-year-old Zainaldo de Bruin from Carnarvon, along with two classmates, won gold in the regional leg in Cape Town earlier this month.

If they succeed in Pretoria, they will compete against young robotics enthusiasts from all over the globe in India later this year.

De Bruin's mother, Nicolene, is worried his English is not good enough, but the bright robotics champion responds confidently when asked how he got involved.

"When the robotics came to our school, I was one of the first persons to get invited to join them. So when it started I was there."

He explains his physical science teacher, Itumeleng Molefi, was instrumental in helping him discover his robotics passion.

Carnarvon High School didn't have a physical science teacher before the Square Kilometre Array, or SKA, sponsored the appointment of one.

The SKA project is an international effort to build the world's largest radio telescope in the southern hemisphere, with its hub 80km outside of the small Karoo town.

Zainaldo won a tour of the SKA site, which is not easily accessible to the public as yet.

He visited the site of 64 telescopes on Friday, where he says: "It was so amazing to see them."

The SKA telescope is co-located in Africa and in Australia.

Upon completion it will have an unprecedented scope in observations, exceeding the image resolution quality of the Hubble Space Telescope by more than 50 times.

It will have the ability to capture images of vast areas of sky in parallel.