(Left to Right): Mr Steven Mafumadi, Dr Hlumani Ndlovu, Dr Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye, Dr Tandeka Magcwebeba, Dr Rejoyce Gavhi, Dr Zandile Mchiza, Dr Mokgolela Mogorosi, Dr Puleng Segalo and Mr Robert Bob Bond.
The National Research Foundation: Human and Infrastructure Capacity Development (NRF-HICD) and the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) were requested by Reverend Thobela Willem who is a member of the School Governing Body (SGB) at Simzamile Senior Secondary School to organise and facilitate a role-modelling campaign in the area of Ndevana in King Williams Town on 31 May 2014.
The role-modelling campaign is a career-profiling programme that provides a platform for learners to meet and interact with science, engineering and technology (SET) content specialists. The specialists act as role models or mentors, guiding learners on careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), explaining the requirements for studying in a particular field, and helping learners understand the social and academic environments.
Both the NRF-HICD and SAASTA organised content specialists in various SET fields such as biotechnology (microbiology, biochemistry and immunology) chemistry, nanotechnology, mathematics, nuclear technology/fuel cell technology and psychology. The programme included the following content specialists: Dr Zandile Mchiza (Senior Specialist Scientist, MRC), Dr Hlumani Ndlovu (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UCT), Dr Tandeka Magcwebeba (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stellenbosch University), Dr Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, TUT), Dr Mokgolela Mogorosi (Senior Scientist, Sasol Limited), Dr Rejoyce Gavhi (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, AIMS), Dr Puleng Segalo (Senior Lecturer: Psychology, UNISA), Mr Bob Bond (Manager: Industry Grid and Institute for Advanced Tooling/Fuel Cell Specialist at TUT), Mr Steven Mufamadi (PhD Student – Nanomedicine, WITS), Ms Nomakholwa Stokwe (Research Entomologist, ARC) and Edith Mshoperi (Masters Student: Biotechnology, Rhodes University). The NPEP representative (Nanotechnology Public Engagement Programme) was Mr Steven Mufamadi who recently submitted his PhD thesis proposal in nanoscience/nanomedicine. He is working with the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform (WADDP) at Wits University headed by Professor Viness Pillay (NRF Chair: Pharmaceutical Biomaterials and Polymer-Engineered Drug Delivery Technologies).
The campaign was further supported and endorsed by the Eastern Cape Department of Education which was represented by Mr Phumzile Mashalaba (Chief Education Specialist) and Ms Lulama Ntshaba (Deputy Chief Education Specialist). Despite the poor education facilities available at the school that hosted the role-modelling campaign, it was highly encouraging to see the learners showing a keen interest and willingness to learn. With the presence and further support of the community and ward councillor, the campaign was a great success, and achieved its set objective of exposing this group of learners to various careers.
Writers: Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka and Sizwe Khoza