Goratileone Oepeng reaches FameLab SA Final!

Image 2023-09-20 at 7.50 AM.jpgWe are so proud to see one of our science club members reach for fame through science!

Goratileone Oepeng grew up near Kuruman in the Northern Cape. He says he has always been curious about the world around him and the way things work. This is why, at school, he started a science club and registered it as a Science Spaza Club. In 2014, he wrote a letter to the Science Space newspaper where he explained just how much the Science Spaza Club meant to him and his friends – and said this is where he learnt to really love science. See below for that letter with Goratileone standing third in the back row:

Now, after almost 10 years, Goratileone's dreams have come true! He is studying an MSc in Entomology at the University of Pretoria. His research is taking a closer look at the link between pheromones and reproductive dominance in honey bee workers. A better understanding could help increase the already dwindling population of the world’s number one pollinators and other social insects that employ pheromones as a means of communication.

But we have even more exciting news … Goratileone was a finalist in the FameLab SA 2023 competition! In this competition, young scientists have three minutes to explain their research to judges in a simple and entertaining way. Goratileone impressed the judges enough to win a regional heat to go through to the semi-finals, and then he competed in the finals on the 21st September. We were also privileged to be able to take two of our Science Clubs through to Pretoria to watch the action.

BIG UPS to Goratileone!


Mandela Day 2023

Fun, Food and Farming for Mandela Day 2023 ????

We headed out along dirt roads and windy tracks in support of our non-profit initiative Science Spaza - bringing together scientists and young people to create positive change.

Jive Director, Prof Albert Modi, a leading expert in crop science and sustainable agriculture, arrived at Swayimane High School near Wartburg with armfuls of seeds, seedlings and fruit trees.

The Jive team soon got busy, along with 67 learners, plus volunteers from a local co-operative, Vukuzithathe, and within half an hour everything was planted.

We also had the opportunity to introduce the learners to Science Spaza, Jive’s network of more than 140 science clubs at schools across the country.

If you’re a scientist looking to share your ideas with the next generation of leaders, look no further than Science Spaza and talk to over 10 000 young people in all 9 provinces of South Africa.

Thanks to Kavo R Photography, Blackwoods Nursery, Dr Doshen Naidoo - PMB Paediatrician for generous donations!

Prof Dlova's Hair and Skin Care Tips

Prof Dlova, Professor of Dermatology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has been giving us super cool and very important tips on hair and skin care!

Click on the links to learn more...

  • Full edition of Spaza Space with lots of interesting facts about skin and hair

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World Science Forum 2022

The Science Spaza team was at the Department of Science and Innovation's World Science Forum 2022 - the first to be held on the African continent!

The team enjoyed the opportunity to engage with learners and partners around science outreach.



 Check out our latest edition of Spaza Space! This edition focuses on National Science Week and Climate Change. Go through this edition, read the articles and complete the fun activities. 



Download the Climate Change booklet to learn all about about climate change. 



Thank you to the Department of Environmental Affairs and SAASTA for collaborating with us on these resources! 



We heated up the climate change conversation this year as we took to the streets with our fellow youth to demand climate change action!

Learners from 3 schools in Pietermaritzburg, St. John’s DSG, Maritzburg College and Slangspruit Primary School, put together song and dance performance pieces to express their concerns about our future. They collaborated with researchers, musicians and choreographers to create song and dance performances, and partnered with the PMB Climate Crisis Coalition (PMB CCC) to host a series of events during National Science Week, an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology. The theme this year was “facing the harsh realities of climate change”.

Hip Hop Science Spaza created an opportunity for young people to explore how climate change impacts their daily lives and circumstances. Learners met with researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Research Chair in Waste and Climate Change and team members from the uMngeni Resilience Project to better understand climate science, and to develop songs through which to share what they had learned. They were also featured on television programme Hectic Nine-9. Be sure to catch their feature above.

The learners wrote their hip and happening songs after interviews with the researchers, and they recorded their HOT tracks! Then, in association with local dancer and choreographer Bonwa Mbontsi, they created a dance routine to perform at our final event!

Check out these cool cats!




Thank you to these organisations for collaborating with us!


Africa has a wealth of edible insects whose nutritional content, life cycles, harvesting, preparation, and socio-economic impacts have been researched and documented. Globally, over 1900 insect species are eaten by humans. 250 of these occur in Africa. For example, stinkbugs are harvested, prepared and eaten by some Venda people in the Vhembe District of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Stinkbugs are highly nutritious and tasty but need to be captured during the night when the insects are immobilized by the cold. 

Insects are a protein-rich mini-livestock and their cost-production ratios are higher than beef, pork or poultry. 

Extensive research has been undertaken on edible insects in Africa such as the mopane worm (Imbrasia belina), locusts, termites, the inflated stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei) and the African metallic wood boring beetle (Sternocera orissa). Entomophagy or eating insects is not restricted to the rural poor but is a highly respected cultural practice which may turn out to be the protein food of the future due to ease and efficiency of production. 

Apart from cricket farming in Madagascar and black soldier fly farming in South Africa, there are few insect farms in Africa, even though entomophagy is prevalent on the continent. Rural areas of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Provinces, where insect consumption is well known, have limited income generation opportunities. Insect harvesting provides a wild-sourced resource that is sold informally at pension pay-points, roadsides and taxi ranks particularly by women. In contrast, insect use in Japan has been modernised and numerous products such as tinned, bottled, sweet or savoury insects are available in supermarkets and are found on restaurant menus. There are even annual edible wasp festivals in central Japan that attract international and domestic tourists to see which farmer has nurtured the largest nest!


This article was developed in partnership with The North West University and the National Research Foundation

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This work is based on the research supported by the National Research Foundation. The Grantholder acknowledges that opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in any publication generated by the NRF supported research is that of the author(s), and that the NRF accepts no liability whatsoever in this regard.

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