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Tourism News
New dates for Scifest Africa
17 January 2011


 Scifest Africa director; Anja Fburie, has announced that the Grahamstown event will be rescheduled in 2011. Initially set for 23 to 29 March, in line with the practice of holding Scifest in the last few days of the first school term, the country's largest annual science gathering will now take place later in the year Fourie said rumours that next year's festival had been cancelled due to sponsorship withdrawals were not true.
The organisation is currently in discussions with sponsors, partners, contributors, educators and service providers about a new date for one of the biggest events on the Grahamstown calendar Fourie, who was appointed Scifest director from the beginning of October; says there seemed to be agreement on the dates 4 to 10 May 2011, but this could be confirmed only once sponsorship deals had been settled.
She said the rescheduling of the festival would allow Scifest Africa to implement a more secure sponsorship model.
"More important, the change of dates also presents us with the opportunity to review the role of the festival in the public awareness and engagement of science in South Africa, and to reposition and relaunch the festival in 2012." Fburie said the new dates for Scifest Africa would not cause major accommodation problems, because most visitors who llved within a 250km radius from Grahamstown were usually day visitors. Those from further afield were small groups and usually stayed in self-catering establishments or B&Bs.
She said there were also advantages to holding Scifest during the university term.
"Rhodes University is one of our major partners, not only because of its contribution to the Fringe programme, but also for logistical support, the production of SciCue, and the fact that we train and employ approximately 200 science students as Sciguides," Fourie said.
A range of problems precluded dates early in April, when Rhodes University had its annual graduation ceremonies and there were a number of public holidays, she said. At that time of the year; private schools, which usually made up a large part of the local audiences, were also on holiday. Dates later in the year ran into exams, mid-year holldays, the National Arts Festival, National Schools Festival, Highway Mrica, National Science Week, the 6th Science Centre World Congress, and Scifest Africa's regional festivals.
The only possible disruption to the dates in early May might
be the municipal elections, which will probably be in late April or early May. The dates for local elections will be announced early next year The theme for Scifest Mrica 2011 is ?Science across Cultures?. It will look at what makes us human, what makes us different, the universality of science, the contributions of different cultures (past and present) to the development of modern science, and indigenous knowledge systems. Scifest Africa will also form part of the official celebrations of the Unesco InternationalYear of Chem-
istry 2011. Fourie said everyone with whom they'd discussed the new proposed dates had confIrmed their attendance and offered their "resounding support".
She said that not only would regular contributors, such as Cape lbwn Science Centre, Fischertechnik, Rhodes University and the SA Weather Service, return, but the new dates had attracted new exhibitors, including ArcelorMittal, the South African National Defence Force and Sci-Enza Science Centre from the University of Pretoria.


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