Scifest Africa celebrates its 23rd anniversary
South Africa’s National Science Festival, Scifest Africa will be celebrating its 23rd anniversary event from 6-12 March 2019 in Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape.
The theme for this year is “Discover Your Element”, which celebrates the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, as proclaimed by the United Nations. The theme also celebrates several anniversaries in the history of chemistry including the 150th anniversary of the periodic table’s creation by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, 350 years since the discovery of phosphorous, the categorisation of 33 elements in 1789 by Lavoiser’s and Döbereiner’s law of triads in 1829. While the theme is chemistry orientated, it also encourages our visitors to explore the many exciting exhibitions and workshops at #Scifest2019 to uncover their passion within the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
For the first time in Scifest Africa’s history, the 2019 festival will be curated by Dr Stephen Ashworth from the University of East Anglia (UK), who will also deliver the Brian Wilmot Lecture at the official opening of this year’s festival. Scifest Africa looks forward to welcoming the Department of Science and Technology delegation, led by Director-General Dr Phil Mjwara, who will give the official opening address.
Scifest Africa’s 2019 festival lecture programme offers a remarkable list of lecturers and researchers from South Africa and abroad, who will be sharing their wealth of knowledge with us. Many of our guest speakers are women, which pays tribute to the well-earned recognition and respect that these Women in Science have received thus far. Notable speakers include theoretical physicist and Mars One Astronaut Candidate Dr Adriana Marais, Dr Daniel Cunnama (South African Astronomical Observatory), Dr Lotte Lens (Institute for Heavy Ion Research), Dr Robert Scerri (University of California). Dr Mathabatha Setati’s lecture is supported by the Department of Science & Technology’s Women in Science Award Programme. 15-year-old Eskom Expo for Young Scientists awardee of the Science Communication Prize, Lunga Nkosi, will also give a lecture on her latest ground-breaking research.
#Scifest2019 offers daily exhibitions, workshops and various events.
All interactive events that are not classified as exhibitions, lectures or workshops fall under the Etcetera section of the official festival programme – these include activity zones, a film festival, a Parkrun, pub science, quizzes, shows and talkshops. One such Etcetera event is a special live show hosted by BBC World Service’s CrowdScience, where presenters Marnie Chesterton and Anand Jagatia will be joined by a panel of experts to answer questions sent in by listeners on everything from space travel to solar power. Questions can be sent to: email@example.com
The 2018 festival attracted more than 62,000 visitors and offered a festival programme that consisted of 64 exhibitions and 701 events, presented by 291 contributors from 77 organisations in South Africa and the international sector.
With continued support from the Department of Science & Technology, the festival makes science accessible to the public, encouraging parents and schools from across the country to bring learners to the event. Scifest Africa provides a platform for young scientists, both locally and globally, to engage with the youth and inspire them to embark on careers in STEM.