National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

The NSTF Brilliants Programme

The NSTF Brilliants Programme recognises at least 18 first-year students studying in the science, medicine and engineering fields. A young man and woman are chosen from each of the 9 provinces. These students must have received top marks in mathematics and physical science in the National Senior Certificate Examinations (grade 12) of the previous year. They are identified by the national Department of Basic Education, and selected by the NSTF.

Who are the current Brilliants students?

Ms Aiswarya Sarah Mathew

Eastern cape

Queenstown Girls High School MBChB (Medicine) University of Cape Town (UCT)

Mr Lunathi Qumba

Eastern cape

Mpondombini Senior Secondary School MBChB (Medicine) University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

Ms Chané Nel

Free State

C&N Sekondêre Meisieskool Oranje MBChB (Medicine) Stellenbosch University (SU)

Mr Tlotliso Mofokeng

Free State

Mookodi Senior Secondary School BEng (Mechanical Engineering) UCT

Ms Emilia Janse van Rensburg


Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria MBChB (Medicine) Wits

Mr Neo Gift Dau


Moditela Secondary School BEng (Mechatronics Engineering) SU

Ms Anele Onke Mnguni


Sibusisiwe Comprehensive Technical School MBChB (Medicine) University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

Mr Phila Lungani Mbuyisa


Nsalamanga High School MBChB (Medicine) UKZN

Mr Dichochi Ramatlou


Hoërskool Noorderland BEng (Mechatronics Engineering) UCT

Ms Delicia Davhana


Thohoyandou Secondary School BEng (Electrical and Computer Engineering) UCT

Mr Sifiso Hosana


Mafemani Nxumalo Secondary School MBChB (Medicine) UCT

Ms Kgothatso Angela G Mphaka


Kwamhlanga Secondary School MBChB (Medicine) UCT

Mr Banele Lethukuthula Buthelezi


Methula Secondary School BEng (Mechanical Engineering) University of Pretoria (UP)

Mr Kamogelo Sam Timbane

North West

HF Tlou High School BEng (Mechanical Engineering) Wits

Ms Melissa Janse van Rensburg

North West

Rustenburg High School MBChB (Medicine) UP

Ms Khadija Hoosain

Northern Cape

Kimberley Girls’ High School BPharm (Pharmacy) Wits

Mr Matthew Keith Holm

Northern Cape

Kathu High School BEng (Data Engineering) SU

Ms Mia Jorgensen

Western Cape

Charlie Hofmeyr High School BSc (Human Life Sciences) SU

Mr Glasson William Osborne

Western Cape

Paul Roos Gimnasium BEng (Electrical and Electronical Engineering) SU

Past Brilliants Awardees

The aims of the Brilliants Programme

Inspire and motivate

Through a speakers’ programme (workshop) and tour of science related sites and facilities:

  • To inspire and motivate young talented people with exposure to SET in the field, contact with potential role models and mentors, and advice from experts who can address their concerns
  • To inspire top students to complete their science, engineering and technology (SET) studies
  • To encourage top students to pursue a career in SET

  • To provide advice for successful studies and careers


  • To recognise and honour top performers some of whom have received very little acknowledgement, especially in disadvantaged areas and schools. The recognition includes publicity for the Brilliants Programme, the students and their provinces. The details of the programme and the winning students are also part of the annual NSTF Awards Who’s Who’ booklet
  • To reward top performers with sponsored travel and accommodation, a special ceremony, and recognition by representatives of government departments and sponsors


  • To identify top performers studying without bursaries – simply because they did not know they could apply for bursaries in Grade 12 – and assist them in finding bursaries
  • Awarding bursaries sponsored by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)

The reason for the Brilliants Programme

Top results in Grade 12 do not guarantee success. Many school leavers and even graduates struggle to find appropriate work and direction in their lives. This is a concern for SET industries, professionals and for the NSTF. In particular, the NSTF tries to encourage students to complete their studies in science or engineering as far as they possibly can (preferably up to PhD level). The NSTF also tries to motivate students to find their way into one of the many interesting and fulfilling positions in the National System of Innovation (which includes scientific research, engineering and industry).

How the Brilliants awardees are chosen

The Brilliants Programme consists of 18 bright first year students with a passion for science, registered at South African universities for SET-related qualifications. The NSTF requests the lists of top performers in physical science (in the National Senior Certificate) from all the provincial education departments. Two top students from each province are selected, a young man and woman, based on their performance in both mathematics and physical science, as well as their chosen field of study. Only students who matriculated at public schools are selected. The Ministry and Department of Basic Education have given their support to the Brilliants Programme for many years.

Valuable programme

The Brilliants programme (previously called the Education Recognition Programme) has proven to be a valuable project. Many deserving previously-disadvantaged students have been inspired and motivated, as well as often helped to obtain bursaries.

Why the NSTF runs the Brilliants programme

It is critical for the future of our country that enough good passes in matric maths and physical science are produced. Furthermore that some of these young people choose studies and careers in the sciences, medicine and engineering.

Make your organisation part of the Brilliants Programme

If you would like to participate in the workshop to inspire and give advice to bright young people, or offer a tour of your facilities, contact the NSTF office at enquiries@nstf.org.za.

Motivational Talks and Role Model Programme

NSTF Brilliants Programme 


The NSTF welcomes collaboration with other organisations, such as those that have been
partnering with the programme for many years:

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