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Namibians immersed in astronomy  

2023-11-29  Correspondent

Namibians immersed in astronomy  

Jaenique Swartz  


The University of Namibia (Unam) through monetary assistance from Nedbank hosted the official handover ceremony of the Africa Millimetre Project (AMT) Mobile Planetarium on Thursday at the university’s main campus.  

The planetarium belongs to the AMT, a joint programme between Unam and the Netherland-based Radboud University which traces back several years.

 This project will boost astronomy research and education in physics and related fields in Namibia.  

Nedbank sponsored an amount of N$450 000 which will be divided into a three-yearly amount of N$150 000 that will aid in enabling the university and its partners to tour the country visiting various schools where learners will be given a tour of the planetarium.  

Executive of corporate and investment banking at Nedbank, Tjivongurura Mbuende expressed his gratitude, stating they are now able to provide learners with experiences that were unimaginable in their own time. 

“Our learners are faced with both lack of knowledge as well as experience. Many learners and students hail from less privileged backgrounds, where necessities like meals, toiletries, or even transport to school, at times, create shame and awareness among youngsters that they belong to a less fortunate social class. To see how far we have come as a nation and how fortunate learners of today are, fills my heart with unparalleled joy,” Mbuende.

He further explained the core functions of the planetarium, saying this newest advancement will act as more than a trip across town for many learners who wish to become more involved in the field of astronomy. 

“The mobile planetarium hosts a variety of programmes tailored to different age groups and educational levels, and serves as an opportunity to explore the cosmos from the familiar sights of our solar system to mysteries and phenomena of the Milky Way,” he said.  

The AMT Mobile Planetarium has provided such an immersive experience to many schools in the country since May 2022.

 The first Namibian team members were trained since then and the team has visited more than 80 locations and conducted over 400 planetarium shows, which were attended by more than 11 000 visitors.  

 “The AMT Mobile Planetarium team has brought immersive and interactive astronomy engagement to a most diverse group of the Namibian public and contributed unprecedently to bridging the gap between scientists and the public as well as top-level government,” said Professor Frednard Gideon, pro vice chancellor for academic affairs at Unam.  

Gideon said despite the magnificent night skies in Namibia, research remains enigmatic and awareness remains minimal. He noted this ongoing project with Radboud University and their fellow Namibian partners will enable them to achieve greater reach to inspire and enthuse the curiosity of learners for the sciences.  -

2023-11-29  Correspondent

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