Phumezo Mzoxolo Kwinana is a graduate from the Universities of Fort Hare (MSc in Physics) and Stellenbosch (Masters in electrical Engineering). He is currently the Manager of Science and Agriculture Foundation Programme at the University of Fort Hare. In 2004, as part of his Community Engagement efforts, he founded the FOSST (Fort Hare School of Science and Technology) Discovery Centre, a Centre that is meant to impart innovative skills to youth and the community at large in fields related to Science and Technology.
Mr Kwinana and his team has since 2004, hosted many science and technology related activities like the National Science Weeks, Science Camps, educational excursions, and other capacity-building training sessions to assist the science and maths educators in the region to enhance their teaching skills using technology. Over the years, his Community Engagement projects have had a huge impact in the Faculty of Science and Agriculture’s Foundation Programme and the science schools in the Eastern Cape. It also attracted many school leavers in the Eastern Cape to enroll for science related degrees at the University of Fort Hare.
Mr Kwinana has, since 2008, participated in the National Youth Service project funded by the Department of Science and Technology. The project is meant to coach unemployed science graduates for the field of work by imparting various academic and life skills. Mr Kwinana has, to date, mentored 54 science graduates since 2008. This project has attracted many South African science graduates to enroll for post graduate degrees at UFH while in the programme. Phumezo has established various local, national and international partnerships for the UFH. To mention but a few, he facilitated collaboration between UFH and JICA (Japanese International Corporation Agency) to host the Japanese Volunteers at the UFH. The Japanese volunteers have had a huge impact in developing the FOSST Discovery Centre into what it is at present. UFH is part of the national network for science and technology centres, a Dept. of Science and Technology project, through Mr Kwinana’s endeavors.
He also formed partnerships with various international institutions as he is the member of one the Consortia in the Hewlett Packard (HP) worldwide Catalyst project. To name but a few, he collaborates with the Longwood University (United States) on one of his projects to enhance teaching and learning using Technology, Amrita University (India) on an online digital learning and performance of virtual science and technology experiments, Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna (Russia) on a research development project for the UFH science post graduate students.
Mr Kwinana has so far, fundraised a total of R 14,729,390.00 worth of cash, science and technology equipment and human capital from the following companies and/or Departments, to mention but a few: Hewlett Packard, Ford Foundation, Industrial Development Corporation, TOYOTA, Japanese Embassy, Department of Science and Technology, Old Mutual, XEROX, PETROSA, NRF and many more. Mr Kwinana has also presented five Community Engagement related papers in national and international conferences. He is the member of SAASTEC (South African Association of Science and Technology Centres), an association that governs a network of science and technology centres nationally. In summary, Mr Kwinana’s Community Engagement projects did not only impact on the UFH Community Engagement objectives, but also in both Teaching and Learning and Research. UFH congratulates Mr Kwinana on his endeavours to place the University of Fort Hare on the national and international map!