Africa’s science leaders have babies too

It has been difficult to accept, psychologically, that Maya is almost entirely my responsibility while she is a baby, and a breastfeeding one at that. In my mind, as a modern woman in a free and equal society, I had thought her care should be shared 50/50 between myself and her father Stephan. He, naturally,…

So, who is South Africa’s new Minister of Science and Technology?

South Africa’s new Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, likes things to be done on time. She’s solution-driven and prefers preparing properly for briefings and other commitments by working through all necessary documentation herself. She likes things to be in order and believes in accountability. And she hates being rushed and being given last-minute jobs. “I…

Why South Africa is finding it difficult to wean itself off coal

South Africa has made domestic and international commitments to climate change mitigation. But the country continues to depend on coal-fired power plants, which provide 92% of its electricity. A key challenge for the country in dealing with electricity shortages is that the bulk of power comes from coal, which is harmful for the environment and…

On a Quest for great science stories

On Saturday 22 August, SciBraai, Code4SA and the International Center for Journalists hosted the first ever science-themed Data Quest, which produced some great potential multimedia science stories. Held at Code4SA’s Codebridge lab in Cape Town, the event put data nerds, scientists and journalists into teams tasked with sifting through publicly available data to find stories and create interactive data…

Door ‘slammed on open access’ to academic work

Anger has been growing over embargoes on published works that “limit access to knowledge and make academics’ work outdated”. South African universities and government agencies have banded together against international academic publisher Elsevier’s new hosting and sharing regime, which they argue “curtails scientific progress and places unnecessary constraints on delivering the benefits of research back…