Science meant nothing to little Azothando Tido of BM Section in Khayelitsha until he saw a telescope at a National Science Week event, held at OR Tambo Hall, from Monday August 7 to Friday August 11.
“I came here by chance. I did not know what was happening, but a friend suggested that we come in,” he said.
“I was happy to see many young people inside. I just became part of the event and saw a woman showing others something. That is how I got to know the telescope. She explained what it was and I found it interesting.”
Asked whether they offered science subjects at their school, the eight-year-old said: “Young people from informal settlements do not have interesting equipment like the telescope that I was shown by that Mam. Maybe because our parents are poor.
“We need more of these things in our community. It is amazing how the telescope brings things closer to us,” he said.
The event, an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, was organised by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) South Africa, a pan-African network of centres of excellence for postgraduate education, research and outreach in mathematical sciences that supports maths, science and technology education.
This year’s theme was “Advancing Science Tourism” and was aimed at making science and technology appealing and a preferable career option for pupils.
Young and old were treated to science shows and games, and chemistry demonstrations. Hundreds of youth, some from as far as the Overberg and the Cape Winelands attended the event.
University of the Western Cape (UWC) science lecturer Lucia Marchetti said science and technology played a vital part in our daily lives and urged children to pursue it as a field of study or career path.
She also called on schools to invest in the subjects.
“It is important to have these subjects at schools. It is equally important to support investments in science, technology, maths, and engineering. These will take our children to higher heights,” she said.