The National Space Society Reaches Africa: NSS Welcomes the South Africa Chapter
The National Space Society (NSS) took its first step onto the African continent in 2018 when it welcomed its newest chapter, the first from Africa.
The South African Chapter, known as the Cape Town Space Society, includes some of the youngest members of the NSS. As well as professional members, the Chapter includes high school students who have been designated as STEM Student Achievers. These students had the opportunity to visit the International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Dene Castles, Chantal Mbala, and Skylar Martin demonstrated their simulation of a Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) Engine, attended various sessions and connected with other NSS members. The Cape Town Space Society looks forward to participating in NSS activities and sharing its accomplishments with the rest of the organization.
The Cape Town Space Society began its history in Southern California at A-MAN, Inc. A-MAN is a Los Angeles-based STEM education and mentoring agency that prepares K-12 African-American, Latino, and students from other under-served populations to pursue careers in mathematics and science. A-MAN provides year round programs where students participate in hands-on activities with laser beams, robotics, computer labs and an Odyssey IV Mobile SpaceLab – a full-scale simulator of a science lab module of the International Space Station.
A-MAN the A-MAN STEM International Science Centre when it spread its program to South Africa. In 1997, co-founders Prof. Hildreth “Hal” Walker and Dr. Bettye Davis Walker, along with 12 A-MAN students and their families, embarked on an historic study tour to South Africa, “The 1997 Homecoming for the Children”. The group had the privilege of meeting then-President Nelson Mandela, who was so impressed with the students that he delayed his next appointment to spend more time with them and ask about their studies and goals. Mandela asked the Walkers to promise that they would “do for my children what you have done for your children” by establishing a program in South Africa based on the A-MAN educational concept.
Since 1998 the A-MAN co-founders have kept that promise by working with the educational leaders in the country – there is no educational ministry – to establish A-MAN primary and secondary school-based sites. As of this year, there are 21 participating elementary and high schools and thousands of students have completed the program. In 2004, one of these students, Nomathemba Kontyo, wrote a prize-winning essay for an international competition sponsored by the Planetary Society.
Launch Event of the Cape Town Space Society
The Cape Town Space Society official launch event took place on 27 February 2019 at Buren High School. We would like to thank everyone involved in delivering the very exciting and inspiring program:
Master of Ceremonies:
André, The Big Positive Guy, Smile Radio
Rev’d Selwyn Engelbrecht, Rector, St. Oswald’s Church
Mr. Marwaan Shiri, Principal, Buren High School
Former Buren student, Daylin Mitchell, youngest member of Parliament
Live stream guests:
Los Angeles, USA -Brian Hagerty, IEEE Partner
New Jersey, USA – John Moore, STEM Partner
Uganda – Lwanga Herbert, IEEE Partner
Space Society Travel Group from the USA:
Dr. Lester Lee, Janice Lee, Desma Reid- Coleman, Dr. Daisy Spearman, Dorris Spearman, Olivia Young and Janet Washington.
From 1991 to the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon Landing, to the Present – Donovan Martin, CTSS Board Member
Olympic Torch Bearer: Nomathemba Kontyo
Astronaut: Moiya McTier
CTSS Co- Founder and Board Member: Dr. Bettye Davis Walker
Rajveer Singh Jolly, Curro High School
Prof Hildreth (Hal) Walker, Jr.
Conducted the Laser Ranging Experiment for the Historic Apollo11 Moon Landing
South African STEM Achievers (SASA):
Chantel Mbala, Buren High
Skylar Martin, Christian Brothers College,
Dene Castles, Buren High
Launch Event Sponsors
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Laser Ranging experiment.
The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, nonpartisan, educational, grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization.
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, nonpartisan, educational organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization.
Founding Chapter President:
Prof. Hildreth (Hal) Walker, Jr.
Founding Chapter Treasurer:
Dr. Bettye Davis Walker
Donovan Martin – Electronic Engineer President, Donix Electronic Solutions
STEM Student Coordinator:
CTSS Chapter Advisor:
Seth Potter, Ph. D. – Space System Designer
Cynthia Kontyo – First African student to be selected by the Planetary Society to spend 2 weeks at NASA with Mars Rovers Scientists; BS Geology
Bongi Radebe – Owner, Marco’s African Place
Marwaan Shiri – Principal, Buren High School
Dr. Eugene Visser – Ph. D., Cape Technikon
Helène Visser – Principal, Era Steer Blouberg
CTSS Chapter School Site:
School Charter Members:
Buren High | Christian Brothers College | Sea Point High School
School Rotary Interact Club Partners:
Milnerton High | Parklands College | Sinenjongo High | Tableview High | Blouberg International High | Bosmansdam High | Curro High