Beyond the Booth Makerspace

Our Mission

To service learners, out of school youth, small business owners and young innovators

The Problem

Covid-19 has brought unprecedented social, economic and academic devastation to Mandela Bay’s most vulnerable communities. Youth have endured disruptions in education, debilitating poverty, isolation and the worst social unrest since the end of Apartheid. Statistics show over the past sixteen months, South Africa’s learners have lost 54% of learning time and between 400,000 to 500,000 learners have dropped out of school altogether. Research has shown disruptions in education have led to not only learning loss, mental distress, and missed school-based meals, but also increases in violence and abuse outside of school. School leaders and teachers are committed to their students, yet many schools in South Africa’s townships and rural communities are poorly resourced and lack the funding to offer supplementary support to learners. These factors demand urgent, ambitious action to ensure South Africa’s youth become the next generation of leaders, thinkers and creatives. 

The Solution

Housed within the Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre, Beyond the Booth is a creative space empowering youth through exposure to new technologies, collaboration with peers, education from industry professionals and opportunities to showcase their work in the community. Beyond the Booth works with learners and schools from the Mandela Bay region’s (Uitenhage, Despatch, Gqeberha) most under resourced communities. 


What We Offer

Some of the features of the Beyond the Booth space include:

  •  A design studio equipped with 3D printing (e.g. prototyping & customization), laser cutting, welding, and sewing.
  • A music recording studio equipped with a central production desk, vocal booth and several individual audio workstations (laptops, headphones, midi and DJ controller) for individual and group use.
  • A computer lab equipped with desktop computers.  
  • A performance and exhibition space for artistic performances, education talks, screenings, networking events and community engagements.  

Beyond the Booth has entered into collaborative partnerships with established community partners to provide education programs to youth. 

Beyond the Booth aims to host its first cohort of youth learners after school (~30 high school youth) beginning in October. 

In addition to the space and the tools provided, we will offer free educational workshops from community partners and industry professionals that are intentionally curated to offer the most relevant content around digital learning, employment readiness, entrepreneurship, artistic development, networking and commercializing products.

By providing a positive community designed with access to tools, education and job market opportunities, this makerspace will be a vehicle for educational mobility and future economic prosperity throughout the Eastern Cape.



Within the first year of operating, our goal is to directly impact a minimum of 150 youths through a combination of weekly after school workshops as well as weekend and holiday youth programs.

This space will be available to economically disadvantaged high school youth based in Uitenhage and Gqberha. In selecting youths to participate, Beyond the Booth will recruit learners from Q1- Q3 schools and rural areas facing challenges of connectivity and lacking access to the makerspace’s resources and infrastructure.

the Makerspace aspires to directly impact an additional 100 adults with a focus on adults living in poverty, seeking employment or building a product or business.

Through online and in-person outreach, our goal is to reach 5,000+ people during the first year of operation.

This will include school administrators, teachers, employers, parents, youth outside the program, city government officials and community organizations through community collaborations, events, and performances.