A palpable chemistry fills the East Rand township of Tsakane as 60 young scientists from 40 countries congregate with enthusiastic young South Africans. The purpose of this meeting? To explore strategies for science outreach and engagement. The result? Inspiration, hope and valuable new perspectives on old challenges.

It is a typical winter day on the East Rand and dodging potholes on dusty streets en route from their conference venue fills 60 young scientists with a sense of uncertainty. However, upon arrival at the African School for Excellence, the excitement is tangible: 50 smartly dressed members from two independent Science Spaza clubs have long awaited this visit.

The delegates are representatives from National Young Academies of Science from over 40 countries in SA for the Third Worldwide Meeting of the Young Academies of Science, a conference aimed at fostering global cooperation and networking amongst young scientists. A number of questions are on their minds, which have triggered this outreach and engagement with young science learners: Where are the spaces for scientists to engage with the public? How can scientists talk to young people to inspire them towards careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)? And how can they, in turn, hear about the challenges young people face?

The afternoon’s meeting is the initiative of the South African Young Academy of Sciences (SAYAS), which partnered with Science Spaza, a science clubs programme to facilitate the proceedings. Soon, the air is teaming with paper planes (hands-on activities are the hallmark of the Science Spaza experience) and attendees of all ages explore the complex scientific principles at play.

The ice is broken and invigorating inter-generational discussions unfold: the older delegates ask young learners how they motivate themselves, and what their biggest obstacles are on the path to achieving their dreams. Their responses include lack of parental support for science, inadequate funding, a lack of belief in themselves and the need for clear focus.

The scientists share their experiences of overcoming these obstacles with perseverance, hard work, goal setting and choosing the right support systems. There is also important advice about avoiding risks and pitfalls – including early pregnancy.

The learners challenge the scientists on the continued development of an HIV cure, the consideration of environmental impact and the importance of remaining curious  – relevant and inspiring insights stemming from the experiences of living in under-resourced and vulnerable environments.

The insights from the Science Spaza clubs are testament to the success of the program. Science Spaza brings science directly to the public through activity-based learning resources, addressing the desperate shortage of opportunities for young people to undertake hands-on science learning in South Africa. The national network of over 150 self-initiated science clubs, an initiative of science communication agency Jive Media Africa, is an open invitation to young South Africans to form their own science clubs and receive resources and support. Science Spaza does all it can to facilitate science-society dialogue and advocates awareness and debate amongst its members in pursuit of tangible solutions.

The 3rd Worldwide Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, which took place in Johannesburg from 20 to 21 July was hosted by SAYAS, an affiliate organisation of the Academy of Science of  South Africa (ASSAf). SAYAS represents the voice of young scientists in South Africa on national and international matters and provides a platform for young scientists to influence policy decisions.

The meeting  was co-hosted with the Global Young Academy (GYA) which is a global body that represents the voice of young scientists around the world. It works to empower early-career researchers to lead international, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational dialogue by developing and mobilising talent from six continents. Its purpose is to promote reason and inclusiveness in global decision-making.

As the sun drops low, Tsakane is bathed in golden light and the delegates board their busses. Many are about to embark on journeys to the other side of the world. They are taking with them the hopes and dreams of the next generation of South African scientists. Scientists and science club members are already thinking of ways to make the world a little bit better and a little bit safer, for all of us.


We are thrilled to announce our collaborative science outreach project with the South African Academy of Science (SAYAS), Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF) and United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) on 21 July 2017. Through Jive Media Africa’s Science Spaza programme, sixty scientists from different corners of the world will be sharing their experiences with members of Science Spaza science clubs in Gauteng and completing fun science related activities. There will be a special focus on demystifying science career choices – the idea is to broaden the outlook on the STEM field, as there are diverse and interesting pathways that students can follow.

Find out more about the Science Spaza programme at www.sciencespaza.org

Jive Media Africa brought the Hip Hop Science Spaza programme to Taung, North West Province, home of the Taung Child!

The Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI) is a Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences, and the global hub for the study of the origins of the species (including human origins). Hip Hop Science Spaza and ESI engaged with learners from 11 schools in Taung to create songs about palaeontology and the rich history of Taung. The study of fossils has broad public appeal, and these songs will be created with the aim of reaching the general public, well beyond typical scientific audiences.

Jive Media Africa is proud to partner with the DST – NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences, Evolutionary Studies Institute team from Wits – University of the Witwatersrand.


Learners are ready with their performances!

Learners recording their song at the local radio station…

Hip Hop Science Spaza celebrated National Science Week 2016. The theme this year is Science for Sustainable Development and Improved Quality of Life. Hip Hop Science Spaza focused on water, food security and nutrition.

Learners from Mlungisi Secondary School in Taylor’s Halt, Pietermaritzburg, met up with food security expert, Mbali Gwacela, hydrologist Lungi Lembede and Zandile Ngcobo who is a Nutrition Advisor at Taylor’s Halt Clinic. After learning more about these three areas of science, the learners composed songs to convey an important message about sustainable living. The songs were performed for their parents and the community at the Hip Hop Science Spaza event.

Five learners from the school also joined the Science Spaza team in Cape Town where they were asked to perform at the launch of National Science Week 2016, hosted at the University of the Western Cape.

The  interviews and songs were professionally recorded and aired on community radio stations across the country during National Science Week 2016 (08 -13 August 2016). To listen to the interviews and songs go to Sound Cloud and you can watch the Hip Hop Science Spaza NSW2016 video on YouTube.

Visit www.sciencespaza.org for resources with topics covered during National Science Week 2016.

National Science Week is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology managed through the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA). For more information, go to: www.saasta.ac.za

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA), developer of the world’s largest radio telescope, in partnership with Jive Media Africa recently engaged learners in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape through the Hip Hop Science Spaza programme. Grade 6 and 7 learners from Carnarvon Primary School were treated to hands-on science activities through which they learned more about the SKA, radio telescopes and astronomy. The activities included the creation of art focused on the theme of astronomy and the electromagnetic spectrum, a visit to the site of the MeerKAT telescope and an international Skype session that allowed the learners in Carnarvon to engage with learners at the Jodrell Bank telescope in the United Kingdom. Through the Science Spaza Hip Hop initiative, the SKA and Jive Media Afica then hosted an awesome collaboration with learners, scientists and popular music artist, iFani, putting on a show to engage the Carnarvon community all about radio astronomy and the ‪‎SKA through the power of music! Following the event, the songs were packaged along with interviews from the scientists and musicians for community radio stations to share even more widely.

Science Spaza is a science engagement initiative of Jive Media Africa to improve science literacy by bringing curriculum-linked science to disadvantaged schools around the country. Science Spaza has established a network of science clubs throughout the country, supported with appropriate resources and tools, encouraging learners to engage in fun and interactive science, and to support educators in the teaching of science in an enjoyable manner. To find out more visit www.sciencespaza.org


SAMA award winning Hip Hop artist iFani jetted in to KZN to collaborate with star scientists and learners from Edendale Technical High School to kick off Hip Hop Science Spaza 2015.


Learners, who had been preparing and practicing their songs on light, met up with leading SA scientists from the CSIR National Laser Centre and the International Square Kilometre Array project before putting their songs under the spotlight.

Hip Hop Science Spaza is celebrating the International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies – raising awareness of the importance of light in our lives – including its role in scientific discovery and numerous applications which affect our lives form data transmission to health diagnostics.

Also featured were the “Ionic Bonds”, Durban based science learners and runners-up in the 2014 Hip Hop Science Spaza competition along with beatboxer Lungelo. iFani was accompanied by up-and-coming Hip Hop artist, KZN’s Lex LaFoy who reflected on the role of the social sciences and the power of Hip Hop to change lives.

To find links to the interviews and the music go to www.sciencespaza.org

The event was featured on SABC’s Morning Live as well as Hectic Nine-9 (SABC2) during National Science Week. You could pick up the interviews and recordings on community radio stations nationally or online every day during National Science Week 2015.

The Hip Hop Science Spaza Project is a national collaboration between popular music artists and learners in science clubs around South Africa to make science accessible to the general public. See www.sciencespaza.org. Science Spaza is an initiative of Jive Media Africa.

National Science Week is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology managed through the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA). Find out more at www.saasta.ac.za


Hip Hop Health: Research, Rhyme, and Rhythm for Healthy Communities is a collaboration between members of Science Spaza science clubs, popular music artists and health researchers to address health challenges facing South African communities.

The project’s purpose is to enable young people to engage with health research, and in this project specifically research around water and water-related disease. This will be done by firstly mentoring the science clubs on research methodologies and research ethics. And secondly, then to undertake one of three research projects on water-related disease in their own communities. Upon completion of these research projects, the clubs will turn their new knowledge into hip hop and rap songs with a prominent Hip Hop artist which will then be performed for their communities, recorded and filmed for wider distribution.

Project leaders are Ms Hilary Kromberg Inglis BMus (Hons) Music Communication and Dr Neil McKerrow, Head: Paediatrics and child health, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health.

Also involved are award-winning science communication and science engagement expert and MD of Jive Media Africa, Mr Robert Inglis. Expert consultants are Dr Douglas Wassenaar M.A. (Clin. Psych.) PhD, School of Applied Human Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal as well as Dr Lisa M. Butler, Ph.D. (Education), M.P.H. (Epidemiology & Biostatistics), Ph.D. (Epidemiology) Boston Children’s Hospital, Department of Medicine, Division of General Pediatrics; Harvard Medical School, Department of Pediatrics.

This initiative has been made possible through The Wellcome Trust’s International Engagement Award. The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds.

Mehlokazulu Science Club, Sobantu Science Club and Science Spaza staff, Olwazini Discovery Centre

Science Spaza: The Mail & Guardian and the Southern Africa Trust Investing in the Future and Drivers of Change Awards Finalist !

The Mail & Guardian and the Southern Africa Trust present and host the Investing in the Future and Drivers of Change Awards each year. This year has been an exciting and proud year for Jive Media Africa’s new initiative, Science Spaza, as we were announced one of the three finalists for the STEM Skills Development Award 2014.

Robert Inglis (Director at Jive Media) and Science Spaza’s Project Managers (Thandile Mdlambuzi and Nelani Mbokazi) attended the awards function held in Sandton (Johannesburg) on Tuesday, 28 October 2014. The winner of the Award went to Investec Pro Maths. Well done to this inspiring initiative!

Read all about Science Spaza at www.sciencespaza.org and Partner with us to further our passion for young South African’s gaining enough knowledge to make decisions for their futures… !!!


SAMA award winning rap artist, iFani, jetted into Durban on Saturday, 19 July 2014 for a music event with a difference – the Hip Hop Science Spaza! The BAT Centre (Durban) was the laboratory in which hip hop and science were combined to boost science education with the addition of a little rap.

Grade 10 – 12 learners from Chesterville and Umlazi engaged in practical science activities and then turned new knowledge into rap songs. The event culminated in a hip hop battle for the best science rap. The surprise ingredient was iFani, the hottest name in SA Rap who this year won a SAMA for best rap album and who is incidentally also a computer scientist.

Being the International Year of Crystallography, the workshop started with a lesson delivered by Dr Sphamandla Sithebe, an organic chemistry researcher and lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Learners then developed rhyming lines and raps working with Music Communication specialist and creative director at Jive Media Africa, Hilary Kromberg and KZN based musicians Rooted Souls.

To screams of surprise and delight, iFani arrived on Saturday morning ahead of the local battle. He spent an hour with the stunned learners giving them performance tips and talking to them about his journey from humble beginnings to stardom – answering personal questions about his career as a scientist and musician, as well as his grandmother, Mama Mthembu, who raised him as a single parent and passed away in 2010.

“iFani means ‘not the same’ and Science Spaza is presenting science information in new ways. We’re excited to be collaborating with iFani to bring science to the people – it’s a great partnership.” said Robert Inglis, Director of Jive Media Africa and co-founder of the Science Spaza initiative.

This year celebrates the International Year of Crystallography, 100 years since the discovery of X-Ray crystallography – an advance that allowed scientists to see the crystal structure of molecules. Crystallography is a wide-ranging discipline, which impacts on nearly every field of science and technology.

The two day workshop was filmed for Hectic Nine – 9 the popular youth show on SABC 2, for National Science Week 2014 from the 2nd to the 9th August. National Science Week is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology administered by SAASTA, the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement.

Click here to view the gallery of photographs

The Jive team with iFani

The Jive team with iFani

Jive Africa launched the first ever Science Spaza newspaper at SciFest Africa in Grahamstown in the week 11th to 14th March 2014. The first issue of Spaza Space offers exciting news from homework research some of the Science Spaza clubs, articles, cool competitions, new branded resources and much much more… To read more about this exciting publication and to see photographs of the launch and download the paper, go to www.sciencespaza.org.


Tel: +27 (033) 342 9380/2
Email: info@jivemedia.co.za
Address: P.O. Box 22016, Mayor’s Walk, 3208


Tel: +27 (033) 342 9380/2
Email: info@jivemedia.co.za
Address: P.O. Box 22016, Mayor’s Walk, 3208

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