Meet the Genius Behind the Numbers

Meet the Genius Behind the Numbers

Standard Bank Bursary Recipient and Winner of the 2022 SA Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad

In September 2022, Grade 12 learner Benjamin Kleyn, from Parel Vallei High School in Somerset West in the Western Cape, triumphed over 134 university students in the annual South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad (SATMO), organised by the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) and sponsored by Standard Bank. 

As the winner of the Olympiad, Benjamin received a bursary to study towards a Bachelor of Science, majoring in mathematics, at the University of Stellenbosch. “I am deeply grateful to Standard Bank for this incredible opportunity,” he says.” Their investment in my future has alleviated the financial burden of pursuing tertiary education and motivated me to strive for excellence in everything I do. With this bursary, I am one step closer to achieving my dreams and positively impacting my community and country."

The SATMO is an individual competition where students have two hours to answer 20 relatively short mathematics questions. An example of a question, taken from the 2021 paper, is ‘How many ways are there to fill a 4 × 4 grid with a 0 or 1 in each cell such that the sum of every row and every column is even?’ Benjamin explained how he solved this problem. “Once you fill in a 3 × 3 square, there is only one choice for each of the remaining squares. You can also prove that the remaining corner is always consistent with a basic argument. So, the answer is 29 = 512.”

Benjamin, who started watching YouTube videos about solving mathematical problems in Grade 4, explained that his older sister (who was the joint runner-up of last year’s SATMO) motivated him to participate in the SAMF’s high school Olympiad when he was in Grade 8. She also prompted him to enter the Tertiary Olympiad last year. Benjamin is only the second high school learner to win the contest since its inception in 2012. After graduating, he plans to continue studying towards a post-graduate qualification in mathematics and gain corporate experience as a data analyst before pursuing a career as a mathematics lecturer.

"We are thrilled to support and invest in the future of South Africa's bright minds through the Standard Bank Bursary,” says Myen Moodley, Head, People and Culture, Standard Bank South Africa. “By recognising the achievements of the winner of the Olympiad, we hope to inspire a new generation of innovative thinkers who will help shape the future of our country."

Benjamin concluded that participating in the Tertiary Olympiad on 19 August 2023 is your chance to showcase your mathematics skills and compete with other talented students from across the country. “Remember, the Olympiad is an incredible opportunity to challenge yourself and grow your passion for mathematics. Make sure to save the date and prepare yourself for this exciting competition!”

Registration for the 2023 SATMO opens on 10 July 2023 at

 Benjamin Kleyn

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2023/07/24 21:15
he should touch grass