Returning for its 21st year, South Africa’s National Science Festival – commonly known as SciFest – is just around corner, running from 8 to 14 March 2017. The theme this year is ‘Tour de Science’, which aims to take you on a journey through the different aspects of science.
The purpose of SciFest is to make science fun and accessible to all. SciFest Manager, Pumza Tshebe, believes there are gaps in the South African education system. She said, “SciFest aims to provide a platform for learners and teachers in new educational concepts, including to improve teaching methods with regards to science, and encouraging learners to see science in a different light.”
Every year’s theme brings something new and diverse to the festival, which SciFest Africa tries to align with UN declarations. The UN declared that this is the year for sustainable tourism for development. Tshebe stated, “This year’s theme encourages contributors to take visitors on a journey about their scientific background and the milestones which have been achieved in science.” This is important in South Africa as tourism generates income and employment opportunities. Tshebe said, “This is a global concept and at Scifest, we feel we need to align with this notion as a national science festival and show our support for the UN.”
The declaration and theme has made the festival consider how science can make tourism greener. “We
have gone beyond this year in terms of trying to make SciFest a greener festival; for example, uploading the program and information online,” added Tshebe. This notion is carried in this year’s lectures, including lectures on renewable energy and the effect that plastic shopping bags have on the environment.
SciFest is one for all ages. The workshops are interactive, bringing the fun into science while encouraging public participation. The lectures are a platform for scientists to exhibit their work and research, and a great opportunity for everyone to expand their scientific knowledge.
The festival is free to enter, but it is encouraged that all festival-goers register at the reception desk at the 1820 Settlers National Monument. Some workshops and lectures do require tickets to be bought with a price of around R25. This year’s festival is not to be missed, so go along and enhance your scientific knowledge whilst having fun with your friends.
Words by Elle Williams