At a meeting held in Cape Town in 1902, an association for the advancement of science was proposed. Sir David Gill was elected founder president of the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science (S2A3) at the first meeting held in 1903. The aims of the organization, as originally stated, were to create a meeting ground for scientists and others with an interest in science, to encourage the pursuit of science among young people, and to commend and recognize those who have excelled in science.

Membership increased as new universities were established. Annual general meetings and congresses were held at venues including Bulawayo, Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), Grahamstown and Stellenbosch. National presidents of the S2A3 have included Sir Arnold Theiler, Dr Robert Broom, Professors C van Riet Lowe, Govert van Drimmelen, Eric Holm and Johan Wolfaardt, Gen JC Smuts, and the Hon. JH Hofmeyr. Over the years various scientific disciplines have "hived off" to form their own associations. 

Aims of the Association 

The Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science is a non-profit organization with the following objectives:

  1. Promotion of contact between associations, groups and individuals, professional as well as laymen, who are interested in all aspects of science and related activities.

  2. To initiate and organise gatherings and excursions with a scientific theme.

  3. To promote scientific and human activities which are environmentally friendly

  4. The promotion of a scientific approach to education.