All news

Making Science Fun for Everyone

2017/07/29 07:00:28 PM

Nkazimulo Applied Sciences, Student Entrepreneurship Week, UKZN, Chemistry

Ms Bathabile Mpofu performing a science experiment

UKZN Chemistry graduate and former technician Ms Bathabile Mpofu and her husband Mr Roderick Mpofu are in the business of making science fun for young learners and students.

Two years ago the couple founded Nkazimulo Applied Sciences (NAS), a business that performs science experiments at schools and provides them with ChemStart kits. Their aim is to introduce learners to the wonders of science and dispel any fears about the subject.

Previously based at UKZN’s Westville campus, the company now has its headquarters at the Power Centre in New Germany.

The Mpofus present their experiments in an interesting, humorous and professional manner to engage learners.

Bathabile says she was inspired to pursue this initiative while working as a technician in UKZN’s Chemistry laboratories where she discovered that many new students struggled with science, an experience she could relate to personally.

‘The foundation laid for us in high school science education is often not enough to prepare learners for tertiary education, making it difficult for some to fall in love with science,’ she said.

Bathabile developed a ChemStart kit as a contribution to high school science education, and to bring the subject to life for young folk and help improve their performance.

During National Science Week, NAS was involved in taking science to the people, including those areas outside the main centres, in partnership with the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA). The company supplied ChemStart kits to schools in Vuwani where buildings had been burned down during protests.

Starting their own business was challenging for the Mpofus. A lack of start-up capital meant that they could not initially pay a team to assist them, so time management and the meeting of deadlines became important skills to master. They also struggled to find mentors to advise them in their business endeavours, securing mentorship only recently. The company also receives assistance from Red Bull Amaphiko.

Having completed BSc and BSc Honours degrees in Chemistry at UKZN, Mpofu turned for assistance to Professor Andrew Kindness, who encouraged her to examine how knowledge is received and applied innovatively, helping her identify gaps in foundational knowledge.

Mpofu advised prospective entrepreneurs to investigate how innovation took place, and learn how to apply knowledge innovatively to give themselves an edge. She encouraged science graduates to identify their passion and then use their knowledge to design solutions aligned with these passions.
‘If you discover your passion by taking notice of what bothers you regularly in your daily life, you may just come up with the next big thing that changes the lives of a lot of people,’ said Mpofu.

Christine Cuénod


Facebook Twitter DZone It! Digg It! StumbleUpon Technorati NewsVine Reddit Blinklist Add diigo bookmark

Contact Webmaster | View the Promotion of Access to Information Act | View our Privacy Policy
© University of KwaZulu-Natal: All Rights Reserved.