On Thursday, 02 September, the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) in partnership with the University of Johannesburg and supported by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in South Africa, hosted the virtual Falling Walls Lab Johannesburg event.
The Falling Walls Foundation founded the Falling Walls Lab in 2011 to promote exceptional ideas and connect early-career innovators, creators and visionaries on a global level. Participants are given the opportunity to pitch their idea in three minutes to a jury of experts from academia, business, and state organisations.
The 2021 event consisted of 13 finalists who pitched their groundbreaking ideas to an esteemed jury consisting of representation from the University of Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), German Embassy in Pretoria, South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and German multinational companies based in South Africa which include Robert Bosch (Pty) Ltd, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp and FESTO Didactic.
The winner of the Falling Walls Lab Johannesburg event was Ms Adivhaho Mphaphuli, UJ BEng. Civil Engineering graduate whose pitch focused on “Breaking The Wall of Water Leakages”. The first runner up was Dr. Herman Pieter Myburgh, Senior Lecturer, Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS) at UJ whose pitch focused on “Breaking The Wall of Practical Stem Education” and the second runner-up was Mr Chris Abraham, MEng. (Electrical Engineering) candidate at Stellenbosch University, whose pitch focused on “Breaking The Wall of Unsustainable Transport”.
Prof Ylva Rodny-Gumede, Senior Director: Division for Internationalisation at UJ said: “It is a great pleasure to partner with the German Academic Exchange Service on the Falling Walls Lab Johannesburg event. The partnership between UJ and the DAAD is extremely important, and we will continue to work together to strengthen the partnership. Lastly, I would like to congratulate all the presenters and in particular, the clear winner Ms Adivhaho Mphaphuli.”
Dr Anja Hallacker, Director: DAAD Information Centre Southern Africa said: “The Falling Walls Lab Johannesburg event was indeed a resounding success. Congratulations to all the presenters who did a sterling job with their presentations and a special congratulations to our winner Ms Adivhaho Mphaphuli. We look forward to continue engaging and working with the University of Johannesburg.”
Ms Mphaphuli will now be representing South Africa at the global Falling Walls Lab conference in Berlin, Germany in November. She will be competing against the winners from the Falling Walls Lab events that have taken place globally.