Tag Archives: Nust ZW

NUST Young Inventors Club wins 2nd place at #SANBioLabHack2018

The #SANBioLabHack2018 took place in Pretoria, South Africa, this week with 17 undergraduate students coming together to turn their passion for innovation by addressing afro-centric solutions to common lab issues.

Staff Writer | Nust ZW

2 minute read

The 2nd place winning team from the Zimbabwe National University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) Young Inventors Club impressed the judges with their low-cost PCR machine, which is also known as a Thermocycler that is commonly used to amplify segments of DNA.

Aimed to bring the ideas and ideology of the open hardware movement to the African education community, LabHack opens up opportunities for equipping labs in novel and sustainable fashions by facilitating the open design of key laboratory equipment.

When asked what inspired their prototype, Team Zimbabwe captain and NUST Electronics Engineering student Clifford Mutsave said the team wanted to live up to their name, Young Inventors.

According to the team, the best centre in Zimbabwe only has two PCR machines mainly because they are very expensive.

The cheapest PCR machines on the market cost in the range of forty thousand US dollars and are thus often unaffordable by the institutions offering science and technology education, resulting in students lacking a practical exposure to how these kinds of equipment are operated.

In high school we were also victims of theoretical lessons on how to operate the lab equipment, resulting in a lack of overall appreciation on how to use these pieces of equipment. As NUST students who have their country at heart – especially young scientists in the high schools – we have come with a design of a low cost and economic yet effective PCR machine,” Mutsave states.

Mutsave’s team also included Applied Chemistry student, Miriam Guni – the only female participant in the group – and Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering students Ropafadzo Manyuchi and Nakai Mashamba.

The team were also accompanied by their mentors, Nigel Nyathi, Givemore Kanyemba along with Tafadzwa Banga who is the founder and president of a non-profit organisation Young Inventors from NUST.
Young Inventors was established in 2017 after getting support from the Yali organisation with the idea to give innovative African youths the platform to engage in shaping their communities.
As an organisation, we want to ensure that youths who are innovative get recognition as much as those in the academic sector do. It has been a trend for the past in Africa, Zimbabwe specifically, that a child who excels in academics is considered to be more important than others whilst those who are innovative are not so much appreciated. As of now we have managed to establish a club at NUST and what we seek is to break departmental barriers by allowing students from different departments to work together. Winning this award is just the beginning of more great things to come,” Banga said.

The LabHack model was first piloted in Zimbabwe and conceived by University of Oxford researchers, Dr Louise Bezuidenhout and Helena Webb with the intention to be a competitive and educational event where multidisciplinary teams of students compete around three challenges to build low-cost laboratory equipment.

The South African edition of LabHack was supported and hosted by SANBio / BioFISA II Programme which is a shared biosciences research development and innovation platform for working collaboratively to address some of Southern Africa’s key biosciences issues in health, nutrition and health-related intervention areas.

Members of the Young Inventors
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Opine: Why female candidates are perennially absent in elections.

Thulisile Mthethwa | Nust -ZW

How far have we gone with emancipation of women and girls today?

Too often we hear people saying that we are now civilised, we recognise and acknowledge the rights of women and children as a way to counter patriarchy and its bounding chains of inequality.

A university is at the centre of all this as it imparts basic principles of survival to young adults to cope in this socio-political and economically defined community.

Granted it is so and women are being given the voice to articulate their challenges and aspirations, why then have we not seen a female candidate successfully running for presidency at the National University of Science and Technology and bagging the top post of the students union body?

Does the answer lie between the socialisation of females or it is in the mind of a people?

Masculinity is constructed as binary opposed to femininity as early as childhood.

Women are often deemed to be in need of male guidance such as looking up to the man in their life,  be it a partner, parent or sibling, who is ‘a positive role model to all’.

That could be one way of understanding this problem although  the possibilities are just endless.

The day a woman could take up the NUST presidency would be the beginning of a journey of emotional and psychological liberation for those cramped in the dystopia of ‘Macho-manism’.

The day a woman would lead the NUST Students Representative Council would certainly be the day the notion that, ‘men make better political leaders than women,’ would be challenged.

‘…if you are too tough you are not feminine, if you are too feminine then you are not tough enough…

The political landscape at NUST shows that personal gender role threats are much more pronounced than they have been in the past. The double bind for female candidates is that women who contend for power are less likely than men to be seen as likeable.

Disharmony among women has not helped the situation either.

The most critical barriers that have hindered females from contending for the presidency at our prestigious university is that men are often judged by their potential, yet young women are judged by their accomplishments.

2017-2018 Academic year Students' Union presidential hopefuls.
 From Left to Right: Vusa Ngwenya, Natasha Aliki, Pablo Chimusoro.

Women have to spend more time proving themselves and can be easily written off as too feminine to withstand the political pressures that come with the demanding nature of leadership.

The idea that, ‘if you are too tough you are not feminine, if you are too feminine then you are not tough enough’ comes into play.

To win an election in this system, women must contend with sexism and stereotypes. The more a leadership position is perceived by the public as powerful, the harder it is for women to secure it.

21st February Movement Inspires Nust Students: Video

by Costa Nkomo | Nust-ZW | @costahcostah

MORE than 250 National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students joined their Chancellor President Robert Mugabe in Matopo on the 25thof February 2017 to commemorate President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday.  It was the 31st 21st movement celebration held in Matebeleland South province for the first time in history.

Cover image credit: AP