Students and Academics to lead the global March for Science in Durban

12 April 2018

“Science has contributed to discoveries and improving lives in Africa and globally”

Durban, South Africa: Civil Society, academics and scientists from around the world will join the second annual Global March for Science on Saturday 14th April to celebrate the important and significant impact that science has had, and continues to have, in improving and advancing our knowledge of the world and the quality of all aspects of our lives.  

The Durban chapter of the March for Science is being co-ordinated by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the South African Medical Students Association(SAMSA), the Centre for the AIDS Programme of South Africa(CAPRISA), and Global Laboratories. About 1000 academics, scientists, students, and members of civil society have registered to join the march in Durban. 

Convenor of the Durban chapter of the march and UNAIDS Special Ambassador of Adolescents and HIV, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim said, “South Africa and indeed scientists from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal have made notable contributions in all spheres of science that has contributed to scientific discoveries and improving the lives of people.  She said thatthe march this year again provides an opportunity for scientists, academics and students to popularise science and to highlight the impact that science has on societies through profiling the substantial and significant contributions made and that continues to be made.”

Last year Abdool Karim led the inaugural global march for science in Durban which generated widespread interest and already this year there is an increase in the number of members of the public joining the march to express their appreciation for the improvements that science has made to their lives.

President of the SAMRC, Professor Glenda Gray said that countries like “South Africa need to see the value of investing in science.”  “Medical research has translated into lives saved and an increase in life expectancy in South Africa, showing the value of science in health,” said Gray.

“Scientists in South Africa have made a profound contribution to advance science and to undertake scientific discoveries that are world class. The Durban March for Science is testament of our commitment to high impact science and research,” said Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, Vice-Chancellor of UKZN.  “The global March for Science initiative that started last year not only makes a powerful statement regarding the value of scientists and scientific research, but also provides an opportunity to unite researchers globally. Indeed, it promotes the intrinsic value of evidence-based policy making and decision making to improve the lives of people, particularly people on the African continent.” 

Van Jaarsveld said that “at UKZN, our strategic research focus areas include African health, with an emphasis on research to save lives; social cohesion that addresses inequality and promotes nation building; big data and informatics that offers computing solutions; and African cities of the future that creates and promotes liveable cities where people can thrive and flourish.  At the heart of all these multidisciplinary research areas lies Science.”

''I stand for the March for Science because I strongly believe that science is a gift to humanity,” said Musa Mthembu, President of the South African Medical Students Association – (SAMSA). “It knows no country, no race, gender or age, because knowledge belongs to humanity and it is the torch that illuminates the world. This wonderful gift should be shared with all because like wine and vintage cars science gets better with age. The generations before us have done amazing things with their discoveries it is now our time to take the baton and take science to the next level.''

Participants will assemble in front of the Durban City Hall from 9:00 and the march will commence at 10:00 and will proceed to the Gugu Dlamini Park.

The route of the march is as follows: walk onto Dr Pixley Kaseme Street (West Street) walking right, towards the beach. At the first intersection turn left into Samora Machel Street. Proceed over the Monty Naicker (Pine Street) Road intersection. Continue over Dr A B Xuma Street (Commercial Road) intersection. Pass the Workshop on the left. Turn left into Gugu Dlamini Park/Workshop Park where interactive exhibits will be on display from state of the art research currently underway in KwaZulu-Natal that addresses local challenges that are also globally relevant.

For interviews contact:
Smita Maharaj
Tel: 082 806 9931