Debunking the myth around science

Aspiring social entrepreneur (name to come) speaks to Durban-based ChemStart science kit founder Bathabile Mpofu about her business journey. Photo: Zanele Siso/Zanephoto

 

A burning desire to help schoolchildren from disadvantaged communities to embrace science has driven a young woman chemical engineer to develop a portable experimental kit that can be used by budding scientists in their classrooms.

Durban’s Bathabile Mpofu, a BSc Honours graduate in chemistry of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has taken her passion to help science-shy learners to master the subject through her entrepreneurial skills and a desire to solve nagging problems that afflict her community and country at large.

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One of these problems is the myth that surrounds maths and science subjects in poor communities where schoolchildren give up on these two most crucial subjects simply because they are considered too difficult.

To address this, Mpofu created the portable experimental kit, ChemStart, which has been used by more than 6 000 learners in 45 schools across South Africa.

Speaking to budding entrepreneurs at a Red Bull Amaphiko Connect workshop in Braamfontein’s Tshimologong Precinct she said, “I developed the portable science kit that can be used by the most of amateurish scientists in schools and contains a complete experimental kit with chemicals for the children to explore and eventually enjoy the subject.

“I have set out to debunk that myth and prove to the schoolchildren that maths and science are just like any other subjects if only the children can apply their mind and get to physically carry out the scientific experiments themselves in their own classrooms.

“I know for certain once they get involved and hooked on the experimental side of things in science, they will fall in love and never let go again…. I used to think science was only for the highly brilliant until I personally carried out the experiments myself and fell head over heels with the subject.”

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Mpofu was one of the many speakers of the day at the workshop who had come to motivate the aspiring entrepreneurs never to give up on their dreams but instead to strive hard to elevate and take their business dreams to other levels.

She said the kits could be ordered through her company, Nkazimulo Applied Sciences and mailed to recipients across the length and breadth of the country.

Details: Bathabile Mpofu 082 301 6726; [email protected]

  AUTHOR
Sipho Siso

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