On Thursday, 31 October 2019, the Chemistry Department of the University of Venda (UNIVEN) hosted the South African Chemical Institute (SACI) Young Chemists Symposium to encourage young Chemists about the Scientific and technological relationships. This Symposium was held at the University’s Research Conference Centre. The attendees of this Symposium were honours, masters and PhD students from SACI North Section. SACI North Section is comprised of UNIVEN, University of Limpopo, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Pretoria, CSIR, and NECSA. 

Poster presentation session of SACI postgraduates

During this annual symposium, one masters and one PhD student from each participating institution are given a chance to make oral presentations whereas one Honours student from each participating institution are given a chance to present their posters. Three best presenters from each category were given prizes sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). About 80 abstracts were submitted of which 33 were from honours students. 

Prof Natasha Potgieter: Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences

The Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Prof Natasha Potgieter said it is good to see young people gathered here. This shows that they have a passion in what they do. “The next generation should know that we are paving a way for them. This is a very good idea, we do not only need symposiums like this, but we should also talk about chemistry whenever we meet.” She advised them to learn from each other and to ask questions where they don’t understand. 

Dr Lucky Sikhwivhilu from Mintec: Guest Speaker

Guest Speaker, Dr Lucky Sikhwivhilu from Mintec spoke about Chemist of the Future: understanding Science and Technological relationships. He spoke about definitions of chemistry and how chemistry is applied on a daily basis. Dr Sikhwivhilu told postgraduate students to position themselves in a way that they can make money for a living. “With chemistry, we can create future solutions, we can also create future businesses. As a student, ask yourself why you are doing chemistry, how are you going to make a living with the qualification that you have and to what extent are you ready to study.” 

Prof Richard Mampa from UL thanked all who attended and for making this occasion what it is. He also thanked staff members from the 6 participating Universities. 

Prof Richard Mampa from UL: Chairperson of SACI North section

Prof Mampa said this was a prestigious event, “this was a top-notch event and we wish the next hosting University will be able to keep the standard to this level.” He thanked the sponsors and the Department of Chemistry for a well-organized symposium. 

Award winners posing with their certificates

Below are award winners in various categories: 

Tebogo Mokgehle – 3rd prize in PhD oral presentation 

Motlatso Malapne – 2nd prize in MSc oral presentation 

Mfundo Mabuza – 1st prize in postgraduate poster presentation 

Anitah Nkuna – 2nd prize in postgraduate poster presentation 

Lucille Mbonzhe – 1st prize in in honours poster presentation 

Ndamu Phosha – 2nd prize in honours poster presentation 

Maduvha Tshidevhele – 3rd prize in honours poster presentation 

Thompho Ravele – 5th prize in honours poster presentation 

Tshilidzi Rampfumedzi – 6th prize in honours poster presentation 

The UNIVEN Chemistry Department brought home nine (9) prizes in total. 

New SACI Young Chemist committee

The new committee was elected where Prof Comfort Nkambule from TUT was elected the next Chair of SACI. Deputy Chair is Dr Simon Mnyakeni-Moleele from UNIVEN; Treasurer is Dr Mmalewane Modibedi from CSIR; Dr Molahlehi Sonopo from NECSA was elected as the secretary; Dr Jurgens Lanart from UP is the Student Representative; Mrs Maria Mogane for Membership Scientific Programme and Prof Richard Mampa for Events. The 2020 Symposium will be hosted by the University of Pretoria. 

The SACI symposium coincided with the UNIVEN Science Company Expo hosted by the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences organized by the Chemistry Department. This gave the symposium delegates time to interact with the exhibitors and learnt the latest in research equipment and consumables on offer. The exhibiting companies were Inqaba biotech, Prestige Laboratory Suppliers, Hanna Instruments, Laboratory Consumables and Chemical Suppliers, Monitoring and Control Laboratories, United Scientific, Chemetrix, Labotech, Metrohm, Merck, Labex, Metrohm and Analytical solutions. 

SACI delegates interaction with exhibitors

Top left: Lynne Pilcher Royal Chemistry Society (RCS) representative receiving appreciation gift,


UNIVEN student dance group entertaining the audience

Issued by: 

Department of Communications & Marketing 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 

Date: 14 November 2019 

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