Due to the success of the First Small-molecules Indaba,
a second Indaba is being planned for August 1997.

Small Molecules Indaba I


An international workshop organized by the South African Crystallographic Society in collaboration with the Small Molecules Commission of the International Union of Crystallography.

Indaba is an African term to describe a meeting to analyze a difficult problem from all angles

Fundamental Principles of Molecular Modeling

Small-molecule crystallography and molecular mechanics are the appropriate techniques for the study of molecular shapes, whereas electron-density and quantum-mechanical modeling provide the link with material properties. This is not an historical accident, but a dictum of basic theory. Molecules, as entities with both classical and non-classical character, exist at the quantum limit. The workshop is aimed at discourse around this very subtle issue, in an effort to analyze questions related to the reality of molecules, an understanding of their electronic properties, and the effects of a chemical or crystal environment. The main theme of the workshop will be the relationship between experimental observations and theoretical interpretation. Hands-on demonstration of important molecular modeling and graphics packages and on-line use of the Cambridge Structural Database will be a special feature.


Each of the invited lecturers will address a different aspect around the theme of molecular modeling, starting with a critical overview of the assumptions common amongst structural chemists. Closely related to this is the question of available structural information and how it provides a basis for molecular modeling. The central question is how the concept of molecular shape, familiar from crystal studies, relates to other states of aggregation, and to isolated molecules. The adequacy of chemical bonding and electron models, the modeling of spectroscopic properties, packing phenomena and the effect of the environment will be discussed.

Invited Lecturers

The talks given by these invited speakers were both inspiring and of particularly high quality. We feel they set the standard to be used for any further Indabas


The Conference in August 1995 was held in one of the most famous national parks in the world and the oldest one in Africa, the Kruger National Park. One of the Park's main objectives is to maintain the ecosystem in its natural state and to offer the visitor an unrivaled experience of African wildlife.

While offering excellent accommodation facilities, the Park has retained a genuine African atmosphere - to the delight of the scores of visitors to the New South Africa.

The Climate is subtropical, with days normally sunny, warm and clear. During August, just before the onset of the warm African summer, the temperatures are moderate and pleasant. In this regard the South African author and nature lover, C Louis Leipoldt, wrote: "The ideal time to visit the Bushveld is in winter, from May to November. Then the climate is charmingly even: its mornings, when the sun tinges the tops of the bush, are delightfully crisp and cool; its noon is pleasantly but not relaxingly warm; its afternoons and evenings, stained by an all-too-brief afterglow with amazingly vivid colouring, are as mild and beautiful as a summer's night in Europe".

Excursions into the Park gave both delegates and accompanying persons many opportunities to view the unparalleled diversity of wildlife, including antelope, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, jackal, black and white rhinoceros, an exceptional variety of bird species and numerous other wild creatures. Skukuza is the Kruger Park's main camp. Dress code: Casual.

If you would like to see some photographs taken at Indaba I, please look at the Pictures page.

If you would like more information on the Small-molecules Indaba II, please look at the Indaba II page.

This site is maintained by Craig Taverner (craig@hobbes.gh.wits.ac.za)