Outreach Programme to Increase Awareness of Chemistry
The School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in partnership with Swansea University in the United Kingdom hosted an outreach initiative in the Durban and Mafekeng area titled “Catching the Light with the Rainbow Nation”.
The aim of the outreach project was to increase the popularity and understanding of chemistry. About 250 learners from the Wingen and Wyebank High Schools in Durban were accommodated at the School of Chemistry and Physics on the Westville campus during the three-day programme.
The programme gave the learners an opportunity to fabricate solar cells dyed with fruit juices, and for that extra local flavor, they also tried rooibos tea. With an excellent workshop team of staff and students from the Swansea University and the School of Chemistry and Physics, the workshop was well presented.
The young pupils were equally involved and excited by the programme. UKZN’s Professor Bice Martincigh said: ‘The learners showed a high level of understanding and involvement pertaining to the project. And, just for the record, blackberry juice is better at “Catching the Light”.’
The team then visited Mafikeng High School, Golfview High School and the International School of South Africa where about 800 learners participated in the outreach initiative. In addition, the team found time to visit the Rotary Learning Centre where they painted T-shirts with the children.
Mr Mike Chetty, a Teacher at Wyebank Secondary School in Durban, said: ‘We would like to thank UKZN for affording our learners the opportunity to experience chemistry hands on. The learners were well informed about the need for alternate sources of electrical energy and the human resolve to find solutions to problems involved. The aim of the outreach project was definitely achieved as learners of Wyebank Secondary related their experience of the activities of the day to all their peers.’