Zara Randriamanakoto can attest to what anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Having secured a number of qualifications and with academic awards to show for it, she is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the South African Astronomical Observatory after having successfully conducted a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the astronomy department of the University of Cape Town. She’s not only involved in mentoring programmes at the university and the observatory, but she also cofounded a global movement known as Ikala STEM. It is a non-profit organisation that rallies about 300 women scientists across four continents to inspire mainly girls and women to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “I am doing something that I love, which, I believe, is a key ingredient for excellence,” Randriamanakoto says
When South Africa entered lockdown in March 2020, Geronimo de Klerk was already working within his Elsies River community. Feed The Future For Life started community gardens in the area. “I started the Feed The Future food gardens, which supplies the feeding schemes. It supplies the soup kitchens in the area. It’s definitely working in the manner of staying self-sustainable,” De Klerk says. Since founding Feed The Future For Life, funding and resources have been a challenge. “With the easing of lockdown, we’ve been able to get access to more spaces and more schools in our area. We were able to educate and motivate other communities to do the same,” he says. Through this expansion, De Klerk’s gardens continue to grow as a job creator in his community. “It’s not difficult to stay self-sustainable. This initiative started in Elsies River, but it’s going wider,” he said.