Academics, students and members of the public recently joined hands for the 2018 international March for Science, the South African leg of which started at the Durban City Hall. The march generated wide public interest.
Organising the march was a collaborative effort between the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Caprisa, Global Labs and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Some 1 000 leading academics, researchers, students, civil society representatives and members of the public marched together from the City Hall to the nearby Gugu Dlamini Park, where leading researchers shared some great scientific discoveries that have improved the livelihood of man. These ranged from innovative surgical methods to pharmaceutical discoveries such as antiretroviral drugs (ARV’s).
The march was led by husband and wife team Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director of Caprisa and Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, its Scientific Director. UKZN was represented by DVC for Research, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath and Acting DVC for Teaching and Learning, Professor Bala Pillay.
UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Albert van Jaarsveld said that scientists in South Africa have contributed in the global sphere of science and the march was an affirmation of the University’s commitment to science and research as a tool to shape society for future generations. ‘The march served as a unified voice to highlight the impact of science in our societies,’ he said.
‘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.’