Harnessing Digital Platforms for Communication, Education and Engagement

  • Duration: 60min
  • Language: English
  • Ages: All Ages
  • Date: November 30, 2021 20:00
  • Recorded: Live session with recording available afterwards
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Technology is allowing individuals and institutions the ability to increasingly change and improve the ways they connect with the people. Whilst traditional platforms of communication remain valid, communication is gradually spreading over a diverse range of digital platforms. Despite this gradual shift, a lot of grey areas remain with regards to strategies for effective communication and meaningful engagements on digital platforms. Questions remain with regard to how, why, when and where to digitise and create an online presence.

Scifest Africa is happy to bring together a panel of communication professionals from a diverse range of fields. The panel will explore the challenges, advantages, fears and nuances associated with digitization and online communication. The webinar will also interrogate ways to ensure the effective, equitable and ethical use of the rapidly growing digital tools for communication.

Join our Host Michelle Constant in conversation with Dr Marina Joubert (Senior Science Communication Researcher -Stellenbosch University); Dr Sibongiseni Tunzelana Thotsejane (Hip Pop DJ and Member of the Presidential Commission on 4IR); Toby Shapshak (Editor-in-chief: Stuff Studios and Publisher of Stuff Magazine) and Chanje Kunda (Performer, Poet and Writer).


Dr Marina Joubert

Dr Marina Joubert is a science communication researcher and lecturer at the South African Research Chair in Science Communication at CREST.

Following a career in science communication practice, she joined Stellenbosch University in 2015. Since then (up to May 2021), she has completed a PhD, authored or co-authored 15 peer-reviewed research articles, three book chapters, seven essays and 14 popular articles related to science communication. In addition to her teaching and supervision duties, she presents an annual 6-week online course in science communication that has been successfully completed by more than 300 students.

Her research interests include the evolving roles of scientists as public communicators, science communication via novel online channels, the communication of contested topics and science controversies, and building an evidence base for effective science communication training and practice.

She is a member of the scientific committee of the PCST (Public Communication of Science and Technology) Network, as well as the editorial boards of ‘JCOM’ (Journal of Science Communication) and a book series on ‘Contemporary Issues in Science Communication’ (Bristol University Press). She is also a member of the advisory boards of the journals ‘Science Communication’ and ‘Public Understanding of Science’ and serves on the advisory board of the Centre for Evidence-based Healthcare, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, as well as ‘Quest’, a popular science magazine produced by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

Her current research interests focus on media representations of the novel coronavirus and the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as scientists that became highly visible during the pandemic. She also collaborates on a research project exploring ‘The Conversation Africa’ as an online platform for science engagement, as well as the trends in science journalism in South Africa.

Dr Sibongiseni Tunzelana Thotsejane

Dr Sibongiseni Tunzelana Thotsejane as known as Simply Sybz is predominantly a hip- hop DJ, while exploring innovative means of converging music genres, then distributing music on blockchain technology and applications of 4IR. She was born and raised in the rural Eastern Cape, South Africa. She enjoyed cartoons and watching animation while growing up; playing TV games and computer games. She dreamed of programming computer games and helping people one day to get to their destinies while she was hoping to be a Doctor in Computer Science. Her love for hip-hop music i s also influenced by her sister, Unathi Tunzelana Thotsejane, who worked as a Jazz DJ at Radio CKI (now True FM), SABC who used to make her carry her CD’s to Studio and complete South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) forms for recording music airplay in order to allocate royalties to Artists, which was a manual process then. She serves on the Presidential Commission on the fourth industrial revolution (PC4IR) chaired by His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

She has completed PhD in Information Systems (IS) majoring in Digital Analytics and Innovation in IS from University of Cape Town and has completed an exchange program from Ryerson University in Canada while simultaneously studies at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. She is the 2019 South African Women in Science Awards (SAWiSA) Distinguished Young Woman Researcher: Research and Innovation. She is one of the 2019 Mail & Guardian Women Changing South Africa in Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation (STEMI). She is the recipient of the 2019 State Information Technology Agency (SITA) GovTech Digital Leadearship and Digital Women Awards. She is also a 2019/2020 Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Mentor. She was hosted by Institute of Directors and Scottish Business Network sharing insights on Big Data Analytics and opportunities in Aerospace, Maritime and Defense sectors in South Africa at the 2018 Scottish International Week. She is among Winners of South Africa’s 50 most Inspirational Women in Technology and Innovation for 2017, as chosen by Inspiring Fifty Campaign, with Kingdom of Netherlands and #CoCreateSA.nl. She is the first and former CIO of V&A Waterfront. She was hosted by Institute of Directors and Scottish Business Network sharing insights on Big Data

Analytics and opportunities in Aerospace, Maritime and Defense sectors in South Africa at the 2018 Scottish International Week. She did a program by Innovation Hub and Maxum in collaboration with University of Baltimore in USA for Women in ICT. She visited the Analytics Team at Google Incorporated, Silicon Valley, San Francisco. She was featured in Destiny Magazine 2014 Power 40. She completed a 3 months DJ course at Jumpstart Entertainment in Khayelitsha in 2012. She is currently working on her hip-hop project called LoveOlution.net: #Dumelang #MoloMolo.

Chanje Kunda

Chanje Kunda is a poet, playwright and performance artist. She predominantly works as a solo artist in performance, across the literary, theatrical and live art sectors, touring nationally and internationally. 

Poetry performance highlights include features at The Royal Albert Hall, London and the Calabash Literature Festival, Jamaica and a 12-month artist residency in the Netherlands. She had a solo collection entitled ‘Amsterdam’ published by Crocus books.

As a performance artist she has presented work at the Southbank, London 2016, The National Arts Festival of South Africa 2016, and the Harare International Festival of Arts, Zimbabwe 2017.  She has also had 4 Solo theatre productions produced. Other international representation includes selection by the British Council for IETM conferences in Romania 2017 and Croatia 2019.

In addition to her live performance work, Chanje has produced films for a variety of commissioners including short film ‘Physics’  for BBC Verb New Voices (2015), ‘I Can’t Breathe’ for Word of Warning (2016). In 2020 Chanje has had creative commissions for short films: ‘Kintsugi Gold’ for the DadaFest International Festival, ‘Toilet Roll Gate Retrospective’ for Manchester International Festival and ‘Victory is Yours’ for the Imperial War Museum.


Toby Shapshak

Toby Shapshak writes and speaks about how innovation is better in Africa. His TED talk on how Africa is solving real problems has had over 1,5-million views; and he has been featured in the New York Times. Toby is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Stuff magazine; is a contributor to Forbes and writes a weekly column for the Financial Mail. He co-hosted a weekly TV show on CNBC Africa for the past three years. He believes Africa is a mobile-driven continent, about which he has written for CNN, The Guardian in London and for Forbes. He is writing a book on innovation in Africa, looking at how the problems Africa is solving for itself will benefit the rest of the world.  Toby has spoken at the South by South West (SxSW) conference in Austin, Texas, (thrice) on how mobile is being used in Africa (2013) and how music is being consumed (2014); and again in 2017 about how innovation is better in Africa. He also spoke at The Guardian‘s Activate: Johannesburg on innovation out of necessity.

He has also spoken at Intel’s IDF conference in San Francisco, Germany’s Zukunftskongress (Future Congress), Sweden’s The Conference, AfricaCom in Cape Town, TEDxGateway in Mumbai, Pivot East in Nairobi, and Tech4Africa in Joburg.

Toby was named in GQ’s top 30 men in media and the Mail & Guardian newspaper’s 300 influential young South Africans list; and has won the ICT Journalist of the Year. GQ said he “has become the most high-profile technology journalist in the country” while the M&Gwrote: “Toby Shapshak is all things tech… he reigns supreme as the major talking head for everything and anything tech.”

As a news and political journalist, he ran Mail & Guardian newspaper’s website when it was the first news site in Africa, shadowed Nelson Mandela when he was president, and covered the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

He has interviewed a range of tech industry luminaries, including Apple co-founders SteveJobs and Steve Wozniak.