Like the youth of June 16 1976, while other youth across the country celebrate the day partying and intoxicating themselves with different substances, a group of school girls from Cape Town took a bold move to create Africa’s first Satellite.
On June 16, a couple of high school girls from Cape Town took part in a robotics hackathon. The event was hosted by the Meta Economic Development Organisation (MEDO) during the launch of its Women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) program, which is aimed at developing skills among young girls from grades 10 to 12.
In this initial workshop, the girls were tasked with assembling small robots from scratch. Thereafter, all the robots were pitted against each other to see which was the fastest. While this wasn’t satellite building, but it was the step on a journey that will see the girls get a project into space.
Later this year during the September school holiday, the MEDO Women in STEM program will host a camp where the girls will begin working on the satellite which is set to be completed during the December holidays and be ready for launch sometime in early 2016.
The intention of this programme is not to be a once-off. It is to be the start of at least a decade-long drive to inspire young people to enter the science and technical fields
This programme is crucial in reversing the legacy of apartheid which excluded Maths and Science from the curriculum of non-white children, the company said in a statement. Citing Struggle musical Sarafina as her favorite movie, Likhona Tonisi said the sacrifices made by the youth on June 16, 1976, paved the way for young women like her to make their dreams a reality.
Her mate describes the experience as “interesting”. “I am loving this experience. It’s so exciting to be exposed to more than just drawing and studying ideas. Constructing stuff is so much better,” said Nina-Rose Clarke from Pinelands High School.
While it is believed that only scientists and specifically males can invent this life changing product, such stories display that it is not gender based because we are not only women, but we are women with a mission.