Head of Secretariat: The African Astronomical Society

The African Astronomical Society (AfAS) is a Pan-African professional society of astronomers, registered as a non-profit company in South Africa. It is  funded by the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and physically located at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa. AfAS seeks an excellent individual who will help realise its vision, as the of Head of Secretariat. The key responsibilities and education/experience requirements for this position are listed below.

The appointment to this vacancy will be in line with South Africa’s Employment Equity Act (Chapter 2) with African nationals permanently resident in an African country, encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will be based in Cape Town and the starting date is 1stApril 2021. This is a 3 year contract position which may be renewed on expiry.

  1. Minimum Education Requirements

Degree in Natural Sciences or Engineering. Astronomy background and/or other tertiary qualifications will be an added advantage

2. Minimum Work Experience

  • Experience in working in an academic research and/or policy environment
  • Overseeing projects and good project management skills
  • Compilation of Strategy/Business Plans and Annual Plans 
  • Evaluation of funding proposals
  • Knowledge of the Astronomy landscape in Africa
  • Knowledge and experience in coordinating scientific, human capital and/or outreach activities in the astronomy sector
  • Experience in forging regional and international partnerships within the astronomy sector

3. Additional Qualities which will be Advantageous

  • Co-ordination of international networks/projects
  • Management of Accounting/Payroll Systems
  • Knowledge of Accounting Standards/Income Tax regulations
  • Managing communications platforms within an organization
  • Fundraising experience
  • Experience in forging regional and international partnerships within the astronomy sector

4. Personal Attributes

  • Good Administrative skills and computer literacy, especially Microsoft 365
  • Excellent skills in the evaluation of Financial and Operational performance of an organization for Senior Management
  • Ability to work independently and with Teams
  • Excellent multi-tasking skills
  • Strong cross-cultural communication skills, ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
  • Fluency in English

5. Key Responsibilities

  1. Build a globally competitive and collaborative astronomy community in Africa.
  2. Responsible for managing the AfAS Office and its staff 
  3. Manage and coordinate all AfAS projects to ensure the achievement of their objectives within the timelines and funding provided.
  4. Manage AfAS communications platforms and ensure effective utilization of these.
  5. Support the AfAS Executive Committee and the sub-committees in their activities.
  6. Act as the Secretariat for all meetings of the Executive Committee.
  7. Oversee the update and on-going maintenance of the website and the mail server.
  8. Maintain the Accounting, Payroll, HR, Banking and Governance/Administrative Systems.
  9. Ensure legal compliance of all activities of AfAS.
  10. Ensure that all Statutory Returns are timeously and accurately submitted.
  11. Oversee the year-end external Audit.
  12. Produce quarterly financial and operational reports as per stakeholder and Executive Committee requirements.
  13. Ensure all funding received is accurately allocated.
  14. Responsible for the compilation of the Business and Annual Operating Plans.
  15. Manage the compilation of the Annual Budget.
  16. Organize meetings and events pertaining to astronomy and related fields
  17. Manage and grow the membership of AfAS in Africa

The closing date for applications is 15th November 2020 and only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Your CV together with a covering motivation letter and names and contact details of 3 referees, to be emailed to:


Queries to be addressed to Mr. Yunus Manjoo, the Project Manager, at:yunus.manjoo@afasociety.org