Minister Blade Nzimande unveils Nelson Mandela University's cutting-edge science centre

Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande inaugurated Nelson Mandela University's groundbreaking Science Centre. Picture: Supplied

Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande inaugurated Nelson Mandela University's groundbreaking Science Centre. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 16, 2024


Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande marked a milestone as he inaugurated Nelson Mandela University's groundbreaking Science Centre and other infrastructure projects funded by his department.

The state-of-the-art Science Centre is located on the Ocean Sciences Campus and represents Nelson Mandela University's commitment to community engagement and social justice-oriented education.

With a budget of R54 million sourced from the Department of Higher Education and Training’s Infrastructure Efficiency Grant, this facility aims to democratise access to science and technology for the public.

At the heart of the Centre, lies a 15-metre digital dome-shaped auditorium, a pioneering feature in South Africa's educational landscape.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Prof Blade Nzimande. File Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

It is similar to an IMAX theatre but on a grander scale. The dome offers an immersive space for learning and visualizing spatial models.

Visitors, including school learners, will be treated to interactive exhibitions and 3D shows, showcasing topics ranging from underwater life to space exploration.

Nzimande emphasised the Centre's role as an innovative hub, leveraging immersive technologies to foster interest and excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

“It will also seek to prop up interest in research and collaborative work within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical areas of research inquiry,” said Nzimande.

He highlighted the centre’s potential to inspire future scientists and innovators, thus contributing to South Africa's knowledge-based economy.

“This science centre will expose learners to a multiplicity of careers in the sciences as the country looks into creating more pathways for young people to take this country into the future.

Nzimande added that the launch of the Digital Dome is a historic development.

In her remarks, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, Vice-Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University, expressed gratitude for the government's support in realising this strategic asset.

She underscored the Centre's pivotal role in advancing science for society and nurturing a new generation of STEM enthusiasts.

“South Africa, needs to do more to animate love for maths and science, as early as possible in the learning journey of the young. This Centre will put us on a higher path in our quest to become a knowledge-based, innovation and technology-savvy economy,” said Muthwa.

Apart from serving as an educational hub, the Centre will offer professional development programs and workshops for educators, researchers, and stakeholders involved in STEM education.

Nzimande also inaugurated newly funded student residences, acknowledging the evolving landscape of higher education and the need for expanded accommodation.

He reiterated the government's commitment to supporting infrastructure development in the sector and commended the university's leadership for their vision in investing in these vital facilities.