This year marks the 23rd anniversary of Africa's largest science festival, Scifest Africa. The science extravaganza will be held from 6 to 12 March 2019 in Makhanda (Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape.


Scifest Africa is one of the Department of Science and Technology's key science engagement platforms. The 2019 festival programme offers exhibitions, workshops, lecturers and science talks, with researchers from South Africa and abroad sharing their wealth of knowledge.


This year's theme, "Discover your element", celebrates the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements and several anniversaries in the history of chemistry – the 150th anniversary of the periodic table's formulation by Dmitry Mendeleev, the 190th anniversary of Döbereiner's Law of the Triads, the 230th anniversary of the publication of Lavoisier's Elementary Treatise on Chemistry, and the 350th anniversary of the discovery of phosphorus by Hennig Brand.


The line-up of speakers includes Dr Mathabatha Evodia Setati, who won an award for her work in wine microbiology at the Department of Science and Technology's 2018 South African Women in Science Awards. Other leading scientists include, Dr Adriana Marais, Dr Daniel Cunnama of the South African Astronomical Observatory, Dr Lotte Lens of Germany's Institute for Heavy Ion Research and Dr Robert Scerri from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Lunga Nkosi, an Eskom Expo for Young Scientists silver medallist in the Science Communication category, will be there to speak about her latest research on sustainable shark barriers.


All interactive events that are not classified as exhibitions, lectures or workshops fall under the Etcetera section of the official festival programme. One such event is a special live show hosted by BBC World Service’s CrowdScience, where presenters Marnie Chesterton and Anand Jagatia will be joined by a panel of experts to answer questions sent in by listeners on everything from space travel to solar power.

Questions can be sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The 2018 festival attracted more than 62,000 visitors and offered a festival programme that consisted of 64 exhibitions and 701 events, presented by 291 contributors from 77 organisations in South Africa and the international sector.


Scifest Africa is an opportunity for young people to be inspired by leading scientists, and parents and schools are encouraged to bring learners to the event.


The Director-General of Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara, will give the official opening address.


The electronic version of the official festival programme will be available at   from 8 February 2019.


Media are invited to the official opening as follows:

Date:     6 March 2019

Time:     09:00-12:00

Venue: The Monument, Makhanda (Grahamstown)


The official programme of the festival is available at



Julian Leshilo

060 961 2194

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Hayley Axford

046 603 1170

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