- © 2016 Geological Society of South Africa
Inkaba yeAfrica and !Khure Africa – the past
Two collaborative bilateral Earth System Science Programmes - Inkaba yeAfrica and !Khure Africa - have been active for 12 and 6 years with Germany and France, respectively, and have been generously supported by DST and NRF throughout this time (see www.inkaba.org ). More recently the two programmes merged into one as the bilateral spirits of these programmes started to fade. It is therefore timely to move on and establish a South African Programme that can stand on its own, and attract international collaborations on the basis of its indigenous research excellence in one of Earth’s most attractive natural and enigmatic social laboratories.
From a small beginning in 2004 with 10 students, the programmes 10 years later catered for 181 students in some 31 projects; and by 2015, 224 students had graduated. The largest student participation continues to be at MSc level (with a ratio of Honours:MSc:PhD at 1:6:5). In terms of gender, the total number of female students in 2014 was 43%; and 64% of the students were black. On average, the cost of running this program over a decade has been about R24k per student, including 1 or 2 student conferences/workshops per annum.
The success of the project to-date has largely been due to dedicated mentoring by senior researchers and university support (in 2014, 12 South African universities and the Council for Geoscience participated); and to the near 24/7 ukuphatha (liaison) and management for the student interests by Ms Elronah Schaap over the last decade.
Building on the two bilateral programmes we have now combined the research goals and capacity building aims of the two Earth Systems Science programmes into one unified endeavour that we have called –’Iphakade’ – an isiKhosa word that best encapsulates ‘Earth Stewardship Science’. It is perhaps a reflection of the dedications and hard work …