Keep Up-to-date with the latest SERI news

+ COSAT student visits the United States of America

Africa Bold Leaders Project

Sivenathi Juqu, a COSAT grade 11 student, took part in an Africa Bold Leaders Project for Sub-Sahara Africa Young Leaders in the United States of America, with participants from other counties such as, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kenya, Nigeria, Slovakia and Tanzania.

The program engaged youth and educators in an intensive and adventurous learning experience in the urban areas of Denver and Washington D.C. and the wilderness of Colorado. Through collaboration with a variety of dynamic organizations, individuals and educational institutions, the future leaders took part in multifaceted workshops and discussions experienced life with teenagers from different countries, met grassroots activists and community organizers and created an inspiring community of empowered young people and educators.

When they return, the participants engage in follow-on projects within their home communities, using vital relationships with previously identified local organizations as their foundation and support.

+Annual Rock & Roll Evening

Blue Bird Rock Project featuring the Legendary rockers of The Hangklip Hotel - ZERO!

Sat 26 Oct 2013 7:00 PM — 11:30 PM The Blue Bird Garage Market, 39 Albertyn Rd, Muizenberg, Cape Town

The Annual Hangklip Jol MOVES to Muizenberg!!

SERI (Science Education Resource Initiative) presents The Bluebird Rock Project featuring the legendary - ZERO! This charity event of epic proportions, is being held to raise funds to stock the COSAT library in Khayelitsha. Doors open at 7pm, with food stalls and a cash bar available. Tickets are also available at the door for R150.

+ COSAT learners head to China

Visit to Beijing Association of Science and Technology (BAST)

Two COSAT grade 12 students were invited by the Beijing Association of Science and Technology (BAST) to participate in a science competition (BYSCC) in china in March. They were to present a project, themed ‘Solvation of Polystyrene’, that won them a silver medal in the ESKOM Science Expo held in Johannesburg late last year.
“We couldn’t believe our ears, a sudden excitement came rushing in our bodies. Who ever thought that at the age of 18 we, two black students from the townships of Khayelitsha and Philippi, would be flying off to china? The excitement from our teachers, fellow students, our parents, neighbours and everyone who believed in us motivated us to prove to the world what South Africans, and in fact, what African students are capable of.”
The commitment and support from staff gave them the confidence to show their abilities amongst many contestants from around the world.
“We are grateful to Dr Barnard, our Chemistry teacher who believed in us and continued to mentor us throughout the whole process”

+COSAT Robotics take the lead again

Majestix take the Lead

Six members of the Robotics Club swept the board at the provincial tournament of the First Lego League Robotics tournament, held at UWC on 5 November. The amazing Majestix team are the Western Province champions and will compete at the national level early in December. Good luck to them!

They recently demonstrated their skills to none other than the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor , who visited the school with an international delegation of representatives of the Carnegie Foundation. The very articulate and thoughtful presentation hugely impressed the visitors and made the staff burst with pride!

Thanks to the generosity of Greater Good SA, SERI has ordered a further 30 robotics sets, so we are on track to introduce Robotics into the Grade 8 and 9 Super Friday programme next year.

+ Four Young Scientists Bring Glory to COSAT

COSAT Scientists

Two of the three projects on display at the annual Science Expo at UCT won gold

Siyabulela Mtyela and Lwandile Yanta researched paraffin use in Khayelitsha and Lizo Ncapayi and Odwa Mavuso tackled the very topical subject of homophobia in Khayelitsha. Both teams were invited to compete in the National Science Expo in Gauteng, and Lizo and Odwa again won gold, a very impressive result for a magnificent piece of research. In the photo at the top is our triumphant young scientists on their return from the National Science Expo in Gauteng

+ WOW! Check That!

Specs for the future

Specs for nine newcomers

Each year the school is visited by an optometrist from Spectacle Warehouse. She tests all newcomers to the school and then recommends that some are properly tested at the shop. This year nine COSAT learners are now sporting brand-new spectacles as part of the SERI pastoral programme.

+6th in the Western Cape

COSAT Takes 6th Place in the Western Cape

COSAT was identified as the sixth-best school in the Western Cape according to the Van Niekerk list. Mr Danie van Niekerk is a deputy principal at De Kuilen High School. In his opinion, the two performance criteria used by the Western Cape Education Department to ascertain the best-performing schools in the province are inadequate against the backdrop of skills shortages in the fields of Science, IT and Engineering. In response, he added five further performance criteria, all pertaining to the quality and quantity of Maths and Science Matric passes achieved in the province in 2010. The full Van Niekerk list is as follows:

  • Herschel
  • Diocesan College
  • Westerford
  • Rondebosch Boys
  • Springfield Convent
  • SACS
  • St Cyprians
  • Bloemhof
  • Paul Roos

COSAT's inclusion in this list is an extraordinary achievement, given that it is a non-fee-paying school. The other schools are some of the most privileged in Cape Town and all are fee-paying. In fact, the school fees required at all of those schools are extremely high, all in excess of R1000 a month.

+ All Mourn the Death of Peter Oxenham

Great loss to the SERI Family

After a year-long battle with lung cancer, Peter Oxenham died at the end of April, 2011. He was attended, throughout his illness and tirelessly in his last days, by Dr Thalitha George, of the COSAT class of 2001, the school's very first matric year. This fact is poignantly fitting, as Peter was one of the founding teachers of COSAT and Thalita was very much one of his favourite protégés.

Peter worked tirelessly for the school, in the first years as a wonderfully eccentric Science and IT teacher and instigator of most of the enrichment activities at the school, and latterly as manager of SERI. While still teaching, he saw the need for a "support arm" for COSAT and it was he, with Jonathan Clark, who registered the NPO that is SERI. Through SERI he raised in the region of 6 million rand for the school, ran the Fun'ulwazi programme and almost single-handedly did the annual recruitment for the school. From 2009 he resigned from teaching and devoted himself entirely to the running of SERI. As the school grew, the management of this very vibrant NPO was a full-time job.

Free hacker tools Peter was an extraordinary character. He had an amazing sense of humour, a manner that could be abrasive, but seldom offensively so, and he had the biggest heart on the planet. He was the guy that you could phone in the middle of the night when you needed help. He'd give you a thousand words, but he would always be there for you.

The reaction of his past students to his death spoke volumes. In the days that followed the news of his passing, Facebook was full of tributes and hilarious anecdotes. At his memorial service at the school, his colleagues and ex-students demonstrated their love and admiration for him and their devastation at his death. His mother and son, Jonathan, were there and they were amazed at the extent of his impact on the lives of all who knew him.

Peter Oxenham meant so much to so many. He was a legend in Khayelitsha and will be remembered with love and admiration for decades to come.

R.I.P My old Friend

+ New Beginnings for SERI

New Beginnings

The death of Peter Oxenham enforced a new beginning for SERI. The first major upheaval was the moving of the SERI office, previously at Peter's home in Kalk Bay, to an office off the library at COSAT.

In the month following Peter's death, an urgent SERI board meeting was called where the way forward was plotted.

The composition of the SERI board has radically changed. Dr Jonathan Clark has assumed the Chairman's role in the place of Helen George and has generously shared his expertise and wisdom with both Helen and Phadiela Cooper, the principal of COSAT. Helen has become Manager, thus [tentatively] stepping into Peter's shoes. This means that she, from now on, wears three hats, her SERI Manager's hat, her Super-English hat and the COSAT librarian hat. Because the latter two roles constitute a full-time job in themselves, SERI has been fortunate enough to secure the services of Nikiwe Tafeni [class of 2002] to assist in all spheres. She is proving to be a godsend and will be on the permanent payroll as soon as finances permit. Andiswa Zothe [class of 2003], a fulltime SERI employee and previously Peter's administrative assistant, is now the Administrator. She is the only person who has a handle on all matters financial, and as well as taking care of that side of SERI, she is sharing her knowledge so that we all can be better informed. Thulani Tafeni [class of 2004], another fulltime SERI employee, part-time teacher at COSAT and manager of the Fun'ulwazi programme, has been invited on to the board, as well as three COSAT staff members, Phadiela Cooper, Estelle van Schoor and NomaAfrika Dywili. Their inclusion is to reinforce the relationship between SERI and COSAT and to facilitate joint decision-making. Alain Russell, recently retired from the legal department of Shell International, has kindly agreed to assume the role of Secretary and assist in fund-raising. Unathi Booi, deputy principal of Luhlaza and the Fun'ulwazi English teacher continues to serve on the board. Lungisa Mavundla, an ex-teacher at COSAT and long-time committee member, has resigned. Her resignation has been regretfully accepted and we thank her for her many years of service to SERI.

Janice Fleisher, the executor of Peter's estate, will lend us her services until the new board is officially constituted by the Department of Community Development.