Under 20 Mathematicians (UTM)

The objective of the Under Twenty Mathematicians (UTM) Programme is to identify, recruit and mentor young South African citizens to become mathematicians. The young citizens will be identified through South African schools. The idea is to choose at least one school in Gauteng Province and each neighbouring province.


3 October Swartklip Combined School

Crypto Giants Saturday Classes
The Crypto Giants (CG) and Under 20 Mathematicians under SARChI have come together in assisting high school students with Mathematics. This project is one of the most successful projects in CG since all its aims and objects are met. The members of CG decided in 2017 to give back to the community and tutored grade 9 learners Mathematics on Saturdays. The school adopted was Thulaganyo Secondary School in Winterveldt. The school is based in a rural area where minimum resources are available. The lack of resources tends to affect an important right, a right to education. We elaborate more on this matter in the next paragraph. The project grew in 2018 as we (CG) decided to tutor grade 8 too. In 2018 we had eight classes, four from each grade. We note that Thulaganyo Secondary School only offers grades seven to nine. Yet in 2019 we decided to include grade 10 learners who are alumni of Thulaganyo. This proves that the project is continually growing and without any doubt next year we are aiming to go for grade 11. Tutoring at Thulaganyo has been an interesting journey for all CG members. We have learnt the importance of giving back and whilst in the process, fell in love with teaching. As mentioned above, we have a challenge caused by the fact that the background of the learners is not financially stable. As a result, students cannot afford stationery. Mr Zuko Ndinisa, a CG member and tutor, said: “One of the challenges I encountered is that learners have no calculators, that has limited me to giving exercises with only small numbers that are easy to compute without the use of a calculator.” Ms Cylda Masinga, the chairperson of CG and tutor, confirmed the enjoyment of these classes by saying “I am very much grateful for the opportunity to help the learners, I now enjoy teaching Mathematics and interacting with learners”. Mr Nduduzo Majozi, the supervisor of CG and tutor, is the one who tutors grade 10 learners. This class is made up of five neighbouring schools. During the weekend he (Mr Majozi) tasked his learners to research the different branches of Mathematics and Mathematicians. The learners gave positive feedback and also challenged Mr Majozi by saying “We study Mathematics, we are often told the importance of it in terms of careers, but why study these particular topics? Why are we not taught the history of Mathematics? What’s the vision of the syllabus?” Miss Ntombifuthi Khoza, the leader of school projects in CG, will be assisting in addressing these questions and providing full support to grade 10s.

2nd Crypto Giants and SARCHi chair UTM Annual Mathematics day
On 19 October 2019, the 2nd Crypto Giants and SARCHi chair UTM Annual Mathematics day took place in
the Botany Building. The event caters for learners from grade 9 to 11. The participants came from several
schools in Shoshanguve, Winterveldt, and Delmas.

On 14 October 2019, our Department hosted about eighteen fourth year Botswana International University
of Science and Technology students. The purpose of their visit was to learn more about the Mathematics
postgraduates programmes at UP. They were accompanied by Dr Zechariah Mushaandja. Thank you to
Mokhwetha for his involvement. These Mathematic days seek to encourage and
educate learners about careers in Mathematics. There were four invited speakers from industry to talk to learners. Mr Ronsam Erasmus (ABSA), Mr Malibongwe Skhosana (Riskworx), Mr Miles Lesufi (Investec) and Mr Bersan Lesch (Deputy Director: Science Promotion at DST).

10 MAY 2019 Crypto Giants visit to South African Reserve bank

In most cases, University students and school learners struggle to understand the use of Mathematics outside the classroom. This is a serious challenge for the Mathematics community as many young people decide to follow other career options except Mathematics. It is clear that we have to find the link and network with private companies to teach and show the students how they use Mathematics in their world of practice. On 10 MAY 2019, Crypto Giants South African reserve bank to learn about the use of Mathematics in Economics and Financial markets. There was an interesting talk from SARB personnel, in particular, the use of Mathematics to model the production of notes and coins. Miss Ntombifuthi Khoza ask an interesting question, which could be the main focus for reserve bank in future, “How does the cashless transaction affect the model”, which it did not have an answer or the effects have not to be seen yet. The team was welcomed by Miss Kyalami Dlamini of the Reserve bank.

Crypto Giants coaching Siyanqoba learners at Tshwane University of Technology centre

Crypto Giants and Tshwane University of Technology Mathematics and Statistics department collaborated in 2017 to run the Siyanqoba training centre which is hosted by TUT Shoshanguve campus to train township learners to participate in the National Mathematics Olympiad. At the moment, schools participating are Rethomile primary school, Thulaganyo secondary school, Reitumetse and Hlomphanang high school, with the total number of forty learners, thirty juniors and ten seniors. This year, sixteen learners from this centre progressed to the second round of Mathematics Olympiad. We thank our coaches, Miss Ntombifuthi Khoza and Mr Kgaugelo Makgaole for their great job. Also the support from SARCHi chairs under twenty Mathematicians and SAMF.We hope to grow this centre and to inspire township learners to participate in mathematics in general.



20 October: Crypto Giants Mathematics day

The Crypto Giants together with SARCHi chair under twenty Mathematicians hosted sixty-five learners from Thulaganyo high school, Tswaing high school from Wintervedlt, Rethomile primary school, Reitumetse high school from Shoshanguve and Future comprehensive from Limpopo province. The learners and their teachers had the opportunity to listen and discuss careers in Mathematics and what Mathematicians do in the cooperate world. The theme of the day was “ I am a Mathematician”. The guest presenters were Prof Jean Lubuma (DEAN of NAS), Prof Jacket Banasiak (SARCHi), Dr Maggie Aphane (HOD of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, SMU), Mr Patrick Rasehwete (SAMF), Miss Nosipho Mathebula (Financial Markets department, Stanlib) and Mr Cliford Malapane (PSG).

Learners were also given the opportunity to write a small test based on their general knowledge and understanding of basic concepts of Mathematics, with winners received prizes ranging from UP Mathematics department t-shirts, cups and pens.  In 2019, we expect to increase the number of schools participating in Mathematics day. 

4 August: Thulaganyo School 


1. Crypto Giants is still conducting Saturday classes in Winterveldt, 
2. We have two camps in Welkom, with two schools, Lebohang Secondary School and Teto, with 200 and 350 Learners respectively. 
9-14 July 
We have partnered with CHPC to conduct hardware courses for grade 11 learners with some of our partner schools in Cape Town
2 March 2019 Thulaganyo high school
It is based in the township called Wintervedlt in the north of Pretoria. This area is one of the poorest townships in Tshwane with high unemployment, the situation that affects the learning and teaching of learners around this area. Crypto giants together with SARCHi chair under twenty Mathematicians adopted this high school to assist with Saturday Mathematics extra classes. In doing so, it became clear that most learners do not have basic tools like calculators. Crypto giants donated sixty-seven scientific calculators to the learners in this school. We hope that this will assist in advancing the learning of these learners and reduce the burden from the teachers, in particular, during the examination period. We like to thank all the people who made this possible by donating some calculators and funds. In particular, we thank Mr Vuyisile Rodolo and Mr Poelmas Michiel with their donations. We hope to continue donating a minimum of sixty calculators per year.


Crypto Giants were running Saturday mathematics classes for grade 9 and 8 learners at Thulaganyo secondary school in Winterveldt, Pretoria North, in 2017. The total number of learners who participated in this programme is approximately 120. The school has more than 330 learners in grade 9 for mathematics. Most could not come due to transport challenges. The classes were divided into five groups of 25 learners each.  This programme started in March till September. It will resume again in 2018, in February. The main aim of these classes is to encourage learners to choose pure Mathematics in grade 10, not mathematical literacy.

Crypto Giants in partnership with SAASTA  hosted three math and science spring classes in Free State (Welkom), Nanabolela Secondary school, Free State(Botshabelo), Lefikeng Secondary school and Gauteng (Meyerton), Meyerton High school for grade 10 and 11 learners. The total number of learners who attended these camps was approximately 600. In these camps, the Crypto Giants also ran the Mathematics awareness campaign, which is aimed at recruiting learners to study mathematical sciences.

Crypto Giants did their annual team-building activity at Gold Reef City, in Johannesburg. Two Crypto Giants members, Mr Boitumelo Mahlobo and Mr Odirile Ntshudisani received honours funding from SARCHi chair, and Mr Ntshudisani, in addition, received funding to attend MASAMU programme and SAMSA conference in Tanzania, 16-26 November 2017.

Next year we plan to do more of the math and science camps and bring a few learners on campus for mathematics day.


 Prof Jean Lubuma, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, participated in a Mathematics awareness initiative that targets high school learners. Grade 12 learners from the Reitumetse High School in Soshanguve learning more about the Under Twenty Mathematicians programme Yvonne Mashaba Crypto Giant members, together with the founder of the Under Twenty Mathematicians (UTM) programme, 

Mathematics Awareness “Talent search”


High school learners are getting discouraged to continue with Mathematics because they think it’s hard and only for those that are considered super smart. Those that perform well in Mathematics do not consider it as a career.

The other challenge is Mathematics performance for these learners when they get to their first year at tertiary institutions. They seem to struggle to bridge the gap between high school and university Mathematics. Many of the degrees require at least the first year of Mathematics. 

Goals to address this challenge

• Act as role models in Mathematics.

• Correct the perception about Mathematics.

• Develop Mathematics study skills.

• Provide information on careers in Mathematical Sciences

• Present the application of Mathematics in other fields.

• Provide mentors for learners who study Mathematics in high schools.

• Provide tutoring for high school Mathematics learners.

• Market Mathematics as a subject and career choice to high school learners.

• Recruit learners to study degrees in Mathematical Sciences at South African Universities, in particular, University of Pretoria.

• Motivate learners to do well in Mathematics and participate in National/International Mathematics Olympiads.

• Change learner’s attitude towards Mathematics.

Visits and Progress

In 2015 we launched a project to raise Mathematics awareness amongst high school learners in Gauteng and surrounding provinces. We targeted six schools but we only managed to reach four schools:

  • March 2015: Reitumetse Secondary School (Soshanguve) where we saw 100 Mathematics and Science learners from grade 12. Prof Jean Lubuma accompanied us. More detail
  • 8 May 2015: Tswaing Secondary School (Winterveldt) where we saw 110 Mathematics and Science learners from grade 11. Two members of the Crypto Giants are from these schools.
  • 15 August 2015: Nomsa High School (Vaal) where we saw 64 Mathematics learners from grades 11 and 12
  • 15 August 2015: Meyerton High School (Vaal) where we saw 80 Mathematics learners from grades 11 and 12
  • Mathematics and Science centre in Diepkloof, Soweto where we saw 150 Mathematics

Team Building trip

On 29 April 2015, we had a team-building trip to Gold Reef City in Soweto, with twenty of the Crypto Giants members, using two Mini-Bus taxis.

South African Mathematics Team Competition 2015

15 September 2015

The 2015 Southern African Mathematics Team Competition (SAMTC) was held on 12 September. This is the yearly event where the top mathematical high school learners compete against each other on the provincial level. Teams are decided on the ground of learner achievements in the second round of the SA Maths Olympiad, and the Siyangoba programme.

Two junior and two senior teams participated this year as the Gauteng North representatives. Gauteng North traditionally provides fierce competition to the other provinces. This year our Senior A and B teams came respectively 2nd and 12th from 47 teams and the Junior A and B teams 10th and 16th from 49 participating teams countrywide. Congratulations to these learners on an excellent performance!

The team manager was Ruaan Kellerman and the Siyangoba coaches were Harry Wiggins, Eben Maré and Hannes Haasbroek. To find out more about how SAMTC works, please go to http://www.up.ac.za/mathematics-and-applied-mathematics/article/47657/south-african-interprovincial-mathematics-olympiad.

Results for the competition are available at http://www.samf.ac.za/SAIPMOComp.aspx.


Senior A-team


Senior B-team


Johannes Conradie Gr10 Hoërskool Zwartkop, Ulrik De Mûelenaere Gr12 Hoërskool Waterkloof, Emile Du Plessis Gr12 Die Hoërskool Menlopark, Pieter Kok Gr12 Hoërskool Centurion, Lucien Magliolo Gr12 Midstream College, Duncan Matthys Gr11 Midstream College, Mpho Nkwana Gr11 Clapham High School, Armand Oberholzer Gr12 Die Hoërskool Menlopark, Jeffrey Russell Gr12 Pretoria Boys High School, Malesela Masenya Gr12 Pretoria Boys High School


Frikkie Du Toit Gr12 Hoërskool Centurion, Amy Gouws Gr12 Pretoria High School for Girls, Heng Jia Guo Gr12 Midstream College, Taeeun Kim Gr11 Pretoria High School For Girls, Yesub Lee Gr12 St Alban's College, Elana Marais Gr11 Hoërskool Waterkloof, Chris Stevenson Gr11 St Alban's College, Pieter Swart Gr11 Midstream College, Karen Venter Gr10 Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool, Heng Rui Guo Gr12 Midstream College

Junior A Team


Junior B team


Oussama Bera Gr8 Star College, Rynhard Fourie Gr8 Midstream College, Stephan Geyser Gr9 Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool, Carike Goede Gr9 Gereformeerde Skool Dirk Postma, Ruben Grobler Gr8 St Alban's College, Taesung Kim Gr9 Pretoria Boys High School, Dricus Oerlemans Gr9 Die Hoërskool Menlopark, Halloran Stratford Gr8 Pretoria Boys High School, Nine-Marie Van Veijeren Gr9 Die Hoërskool Menlopark Gideon Van Zyl Gr9 Hoërskool Die Wilgers


Werner Bronkhorst Gr8 Pretoria Boys High School, Gabriel Dos Santos Gr9 St Alban's College, Robbie Johnson Gr8 Hoërskool Waterkloof, Usaamah Makda Gr8 Al-Asr Educational Institute, Brendan Pretorius Gr9 Pretoria Boys High School, Frederik Senekal Gr8 Hoërskool Die Wilgers, Carl Smith Gr8 Star College, Nienke Turkstra Gr9 Die Hoërskool Menlopark, Michael Van der Merwe Gr9 Midstream College, Donald Van der Westhuizen Gr8 Midstream College, Anton Van Wyk Gr9 Hoërskool Waterkloof

(Names are listed starting at the left-hand side of the back row from left to right)


For the year 2014, the UTM conjugated its effort with the Crypto Giants initiative to establish partnerships with some schools in Soshanguwe and Mamelodi where potential students can be attracted for the programme.


Published by Rachel Combrink

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