Science Oscar win for esteemed rooibos researcher

WINNER: Prof Jeanine Marnewick

Esteemed researcher, Prof Jeanine Marnewick, has won the Communication Award of the National Science and Technology Foundation-South 32 Awards, known as the Science Oscars of South Africa. The awards recognise excellence and outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology and innovation in South Africa. The event was held in an online format this year.

Marnewick, who is the Director of the Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute and Research Chair: Biotechnology, was recognised for leading a team that promotes rooibos tea to be included in a personal daily regime as a health promoting option. She said she felt “humbled, honoured and proud” by this recognition. “This is an acknowledgement from the scientific community that the work we are doing is relevant and making a difference. Science does not exist in a vacuum, and our work is always done with keeping our communities and public in mind.”The awards are the largest, most comprehensive, and sought-after national awards of their kind in the country and were also the first science awards in South Africa. This year’s theme was Plant Health. This is in recognition of the 2020 International Year of Plant Health as declared by the United Nations. In her acceptance speech, Marnewick said: “As a scientist I’ve always loved communicating my research findings to others, from the Grade 3 learner to the members of the University of the Third Age, the rooibos farmer and the beverage industry members”. She thanked the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo, the Marketing and Communication team, her colleagues and students and the SA Rooibos Council.