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.

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 — ScienceTechnologyEngineering 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.

 

BOARD MEMBERS:

Founding Chapter President:
Prof. Hildreth (Hal) Walker, Jr.

Founding Chapter Treasurer:
Dr. Bettye Davis Walker

Secretary:
Donovan Martin – Electronic Engineer President, Donix Electronic Solutions

STEM Student Coordinator:
Nicole Martin

CTSS Chapter Advisor:
Seth Potter, Ph. D. – Space System Designer

Members:

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:

 Buren High School

Lab Site:

 Donix Electronic Solutions

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