SANRAL glitters at Scifest Africa

Learners from Eastern Cape schools exposed to the science of road building as a career path. 

Makhosandile Nondinyana (left) a KSD TVET College civil engineering student who is doing his internship on SANRAL’s project in Cradock was explaining to learners how the periodic table help civil engineers use elements in material design. 

The South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) exhibition at Scifest Africa 2018 proved to be a hit with school children in Grahamstown this month. 

Established by the Grahamstown Foundation in 1996, SciFest Africa is South Africa’s national science festival, promoting public awareness, understanding and appreciation of science, technology and innovation in South Africa. The festival celebrated its 22nd anniversary event from 7-13 March 2018 in Grahamstown. 

At this year’s SciFest about civil engineering, SANRAL’s exhibit explained the importance of building good roads, the different road signs and what line markings are. It also highlighted scholarship and bursary opportunities available to learners in primary and high schools. 

Michelle Ah Shene, SANRAL marketing and communications representative, said: “There has been an influx of learners enquiring about the scholarships and bursary programmes. The younger learners were also very excited about what makes line markers glitter and what civil engineering entails.” 

Learners can apply for the SANRAL scholarship programme, which supports academically deserving applicants from grades 10 to 12. The minimum requirements are an overall average of 75% with subject choices that include maths, physical science and English. For further information on the bursary and scholarship programme visit 

“Approximately 122 students at tertiary institutions are pursuing their academic goals with the support of SANRAL bursaries and about 196 high school learners have received scholarships,” Ah Shene concluded. 

Learners inspired to help communities 

Likhona Duba, an 11-year-old grade six learner at Sinako Lower High Primary School, had enjoyed the experiments and “really liked learning more about road signs and knowing the difference between permanent and temporary ones”. 

For Paul Papiso, a teacher at Sinako Lower High Primary School, the road signs part of the SANRAL exhibition was important as road signs form part of the natural science and technology syllabus. 

Aviwe Nzema, a 16-year-old from Khulani Commercial School in East London, would like to be a pilot or civil engineer someday: “I love doing things for my community and think building bridges and roads so that people will have quicker access to clinics or schools is a good way of helping the community.” 

Sakhile Ndaba, an 18-year-old matric learner at Butterworth High School, said his first time visiting the SciFest had been important: “I believe what we learn at the SciFest will help us with our school work. I would like to be a civil engineer like my brother who inspires me.” 

Aphiwe Nogqala, 18, also in matric at Butterworth High School, also wants to follow in his aunt’s footsteps who is a civil engineer based in Cape Town: “There will always be a need to build roads to make trips shorter between towns and cities. Building better and safer roads can reduce road accidents.”