Maboni Mmatli | 22 April 2019

During the period of April 05th – April 13th 2019, Science For Ubuntu (Sci4Ubuntu) visited the Nelson Mandela Bay city for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Tour powered by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA). The tour started with the Sci4Ubuntu team visiting the Nelson Mandela University to attend the 05th Annual Opening Function of the University’s Science’ Students Association (Sci-SA) where the organization and its members were welcoming and inducting the fifth executive committee that will steer them during the cause of the year 2019 led by final year Geology student – Azile Tabalaza. Tabalaza as their leader outlined the plans the executive team has for the year and empowering activities that will fulfill the organization’s mission of bridging the gap existing between the Science done in the university and society.

The event, themed “Artificial Intelligence; Implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution” was held at the University’s “New Science building” (building 127) and was graced by the presence of Dr Anton De Wit and Dr Richard Betz who are lecturers in the Geography and Chemistry departments respectively in the university’s Science Faculty. Dr De Wit, being the Keynote speaker, advised the students to do great in their studies while being cognizant of the forever changing environment both in Academia and the working world. This he said while contrasting the top ten skills needed in the year 2015 and 2020 as produced and published by the World Economic Forum. He further made mention of innovations such as Amazon Alexa, Inner ear transplant using 3-D printing, the penis transplant, etc. Post his presentation (which was more a discussion than a presentation), the attendants weighed into the topic discussion the perceived benefits, threats and opportunities associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution and concluded with networking and refreshments.

The STEM Tour later continued from Monday the 8th – Friday the 12 and concluded with a Career and Science Expo at Kwa-Zakhele High School. During the weekdays, Sci4Ubuntu in partnership with Unako Community-based Movement were able to visit 18 schools in the townships where they interacted with 28 teachers and 2094 learners. The learners were engaged and encouraged to pursue subjects in the STEM field and to pursue innovation that addresses their socio-economic challenges and improves their lives and that of the communities they belong to even when they are not in the STEM field. Furthermore, they were given information about the available competitions they can enter, and possible careers in the fields of Science, Technology and Engineering as documented in the 2nd Edition of the Department of Science and Technology published career book. With the help of the Department of Science and Technology and SAASTA, the schools present were presented with posters, flyers and pamphlets of new science and technologies such as Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Hydrogen-Fuel Cell technology, etc. and their applications in our daily lives.

As Science For Ubuntu, we would like to thank all our sponsors, colleagues and partners in the field of Science Communication, Education, and Engagement. To contact us, please send an email to info@sci4ubuntu.co.za.