Goratileone Oepeng reaches FameLab SA Final!
We 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.
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
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.
Dr Ngcebo Mhlongo, a medical doctor based at the Africa Health Research Institute in KwaZulu-Natal, takes us through how we can help stop the spread of COVID-19, and what we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
How can I help stop the spread of COVID-19?
Stay at home if you can, as our president has instructed. The virus spreads when you inhale droplets from an infected person who coughs or sneezes – or even talks. The danger is that some people may not know they are infected while spreading the virus. By staying away from public places and not visiting friends and family, you will help to protect yourselves and others. If you must go out for work, for groceries or to a healthcare facility, stay at least two metres away from other people and make sure you wear a cloth face covering. Wash your hands frequently with soapy water for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have water and soap close by, use hand sanitiser, but soap and water are best. Avoid touching your face, because you could have touched contaminated surfaces, and then when you touch your nose, eyes or mouth, you get
infected. At home, make sure you regularly clean surfaces that you touch often – like doorknobs and light switches.
How can I protect myself?
There is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19 yet, but if you have a strong immune system, your body can fight off the virus. Most infected people will get better. To stay healthy, follow the above advice and maintain a healthy lifestyle through eating healthy food, drinking enough water and exercising (within lockdown regulations). It is important for people with HIV, TB, diabetes and other conditions to continue taking their medication as usual. If you are feeling sick in any way, please consult your doctor or clinic. Do not ignore any health problems, because now it is more important than ever to know everything about your health.
This article was published in collaboration with the Africa Health Research Institute.
Hip Hop Science Spaza collaborated with learners from Cedar High School of the Arts and researchers from Stellenbosch University’s Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics (MBHG) to host another successful intervention! This time, learners from Cedar High interacted with MBHG researchers to learn all about Tuberculosis (TB). Researchers set up awesome learning stations for the learners where they could participate in fun activities and examine scientific equipment. The learners then wrote and recorded their OWN songs which they performed for their peers and parents at the final event. Pretty cool, eh!
Hip Hop Science Spaza created an opportunity for young people to interact with researchers to explore what TB is, how it is spread, the signs and symptoms of TB, how TB is diagnosed, how TB is treated and stigmas surrounding TB. Learners arrived for the sessions shy and nervous but best believe that by the end of the week, they were fired up to be a part of the TB conversation!
Start a home garden
You can plant your own fruit and veggies in a home garden. You will be helping the environment and saving money at the same time!
Make your own compost
Put leftover food in a compost heap. You can use compost to grow new plants. Making compost also reduces space used for landfills and creates healthy soil.
Plant indigenous species of plants. They use less water and provide food and habitat for animals.
Don’t use plastic
Plastic bags harm animals and the environment and take years to break down. Use your own canvas bag instead of plastic bags.
Use a glass drinking bottle that can be washed out and used again. If you use items that can be reused, this results in less waste.
Become a Waste Picker
Start waste picking to make money. Waste pickers collect recyclable materials to resell to buyback centres.
Saving water is extremely important. All living species need water to survive. Always turn off your tap when you’re finished and fix all your plumbing leaks
Reduce power use
When you exit a room, always turn off the lights. Using electricity creates pollution. You will create far less pollution if you save electricity.
This article was published in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs