24 May 2021 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa
The 2021 Kovsie ACT Eco-vehicle race puts students’ sustainable energy and critical thinking skills to the test.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Division of Student Affairs’ (DSA) Director of Student Life, Dr WP Wahl, believes the knowledge and skills that students have gained through participating in the 2021 Eco-vehicle project will position them more optimally in the future world of work. “We are also tremendously grateful for the project funding received from merSETA; without their support, none of this would have been possible,” he remarked.

The Kovsie ACT Eco-vehicle race, in conjunction with the overall programme, was established to encourage students to learn more about the technology and logic behind sustainable energy sources and how this can influence the future global society.

This year’s events witnessed students competing according to their UFS residence teams, with Sonnedou, Legatum, Kestell (SonLeTell); Soetdoring, Beyers Naude, Arista (Soetbeyrista); and Roosmaryn, Kagiso, Karee (Kar-is-myn) ending in first, second, and third place respectively, obtaining the highest scores for the races they competed in.

Anton Calitz, Electrical Engineer in University Estates who was the announcer on the day, described the event as one that exceeded his wildest expectations. “From a sustainable energy point of view, the eco-vehicle race results really turned the tables, with lower energy usage per lap being successfully recorded – as anticipated,” he further added.

Andre van Wyk, Client Liaison Officer of merSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Seta) for the Free State and Northern Cape – as one of the sponsors of the innovative programme – extended warm congratulations to the UFS for hosting an outstanding event. He further applauded the university for its resourcefulness in virtually adding electronic media broadcasts to extend the event to the entire UFS community.

“The Kovsie ACT Eco-vehicle programme was eye-opening and exposed me to the broad field of electronics. It definitely came as a challenge – one I had not anticipated on that level, because at times I couldn’t even see what all the building was leading to, but I just had to put my mind and hands to work – it pushed me to think critically and creatively. I was honoured to have been part of this entire experience and I’m grateful to Anton and his team, as well as the Kovsie ACT office, for being a constant support structure throughout the process, as it was not easy.” 

These were the humble words of Sinegugu Sibisi, a University of the Free State (UFS) student who was part of the 2021 Kovsie ACT Eco-vehicle race, where sustainable energy was at the order of the day.

For more information about the Kovsie ACT eco-vehicle skills programme, email ACT at ACT@ufs.ac.za


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