Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival welcomed 66 282 visitors to its 17th year of celebrating science, and showcased a spectacular event from 13 - 19 March 2013, in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.
The festival’s 2013 theme, “Science on the move!” celebrated movement in its different forms, from transport and transport infrastructure, the universe and the Square Kilometre Array telescope (SKA), the human body in motion, to the attempt by The Bloodhound Project to break the World Land Speed Record on Hakskeenpan, Northern Cape in 2014.
Supported by the Department of Science ad Technology (DST), and in collaboration with the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), and the National Research Foundation (NRF), Scifest Africa continues to grow from strength to strength, and this year received a grant of R4 million from the DST for the next 3 years. Mr. Tommy Makhode, Chief Director of Communications for the Department of Science and Technology said, “The Department of Science and Technology leads a national programme on public engagement with science. While the Department runs its own initiatives in this regard, it also supports initiatives of other stakeholders, such as Scifest Africa, which complement our objectives regarding public engagement with science. The increased support for Scifest Africa is intended to enable this oldest festival to continue its work and to create an enabling environment for Scifest Africa and the other emerging science festivals to impart knowledge and experience, in an attempt to sharpen the country’s platforms for public engagement in science.”
The main highlight of 2013 was the new additional venue called Water World, kindly hosted by the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB). The ever growing demand for more interactive activities and events saw the festival grow beyond its home of the 1820 Settler’s National Monument in its 17thyear. Water World celebrated the 75th anniversary of the discovery of the Coelacanth on South African shores, and had its own exhibitions, talkshops, workshops, apprenticeships and tours. From the jaw dropping experience of the dissecting a dolphin workshop, to the scenic costal tour excursions to learn more about the wonders of our water life; Water World was a true success and immensely enjoyed by many!
“It is always wonderful to look back and see how far we have come, and 17 years is a testimony to the hard work and success of the National Science Festival. We continue to strive to engage our public with a quality progressive programme, as we need to create lasting experiences that impact on our youth and establish a platform for our future scientists,” says Scifest Africa Director, Anja Fourie.
Scifest Africa 2014 will take place in April/May 2014, and registrations will open online on 9 April 2013.
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