The Australian Embassy in Borrowdale will hold the inaugural Africa Science Buskers Festival (ASBF) on 3 March.
The event is the continent’s most prestigious junior and high school science communication competition. It is open to all primary and high school students across Africa. It has two main categories – being junior and senior.
The junior category is for all the students at primary school level, while the senior is for those in high school. The aim of the festival is to develop African students’ communication skills through expressions of science in creative ways. It also serves as a platform to spread key messages relating to the importance of inspiring an interest in science. During the competition, learners (the contestants) will do a “show and tell” on any science topic.
Six countries submitted entries to take part in the Africa Science Buskers Festival. These include Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Malawi. The maximum age of contestants is 19 years, while the minimum is six. This year’s finalists are as young as eight years old. Schools from Zimbabwe who made into the finalists are St Anthony’s High (Masvingo), Watershed College (Marondera), Trojan Mine Primary (Bindura), Queen Elizabeth High School (Harare), Maranatha Junior (Harare), St John’s College (Harare) and Irene Christian College (Harare).
Finalists for the prestigious competition are selected based on their innovativeness, scientific research and also on their overall potential as future leaders of the scientific community.
ASBF is an idea and initiative of Zimbabwe Science Fair, funded by the Australian Embassy. Zimbabwe Science Fair is an organisation that seeks to advance Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMI) among the country’s youth.
Harare News spoke to founder of Zimbabwe Science Fair Knowledge Chikundi on what inspired the inaugural event.
Chikundi said, “The African Science Buskers Festival was inspired by the Science Buskers Festival held annually in Singapore, as well as the Science Circus Africa (SCA). The launch of the Science Circus Africa at the Australian Embassy in Harare in March 2016 was a great moment, which brought a new science learning and teaching curve to Zimbabwe. The SCA seeks to inspire and ignite a love and passion for science in African communities. It was after the SCA experience and consultation with friends at the Singapore Science Centre that the idea of a continent-wide science buskers festival was born.”
Harare News also spoke to Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Suzanne McCourt on what motivated the Australian Embassy to support the Africa Science Buskers Festival.
The ambassador said, “The Australian Embassy has funded Science Circus Tours in Southern Africa from 2014. Science ShowOffs Director, Australian Dr Grahma Walker, led these successful tours with local partners in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius. The Science Circus Tours have empowered teachers to deliver innovative science education and help students on a path to lifelong science learning. The Zimbabwean partner, Zimbabwe Science Fair has shown excellent initiative after the initial tour with Dr Graham Walker and has this year already had two successful tours, teaching and training over 20,000 students. For youth in Southern Africa, especially the less fortunate, science and science education can be a real opportunity to break the poverty cycle and find a worthwhile, as well as exciting career. The Australian government recognises this fact and by funding this project, we hope to provide inspiration towards that goal.”
The Africa Science Buskers Festival is open to be public from 9:30am till 14:30pm. The public is cordially invited, but will be required to register attendance via email with Leonora.firstname.lastname@example.org. Failure to register will result in non-entry. They will be a people’s choice award to be won by the exhibiting students. Admission is free.