South African ingenuity at work

2017-12-24 06:04
Hippo water rollers

Hippo water rollers

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SA has always been a nation of inventors, with its contributions honoured on international innovation platforms. The country has given the world some useful tools. 

From the heart transplant to the CAT scanner and the Kreepy Krauly, SA has punched above its weight, not only for the benefit of the rich but for ordinary folk, with innovations such as self-powered radios and the Please Call Me cellphone network return calls. In the past couple of years, a few more inventions have crept up, thanks to local ingenuity.

Phumlani S Langa compiled this short list


1. Water collection can be quite a challenge in rural South Africa. The distances between water sources and community residents are far. Developed by Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker from Johannesburg, this nifty invention is basically a barrel that can contain water, fitted with a handle making it easy to move by just rolling it along. This means children and the elderly can easily carry 90 litres of water.


2. The word ‘mashesha’ means fast or with haste. That was Louise Williamson’s aim when she designed this stove. It uses 56% less wood than normal open-wood fires and burns with almost no smoke. A double-barrelled steel chamber with air vents allows natural airflow. They come in either 16kg or 9kg portable units, perfect for home or school cooking.


3. A device aimed at decreasing infections after circumcision, which is a ritual rite of passage for the Xhosa nation.

It also speeds up the process of recovery by keeping the penis in an upright position, preventing seepage and protecting the area from abrasions.


4. Available on Play Store and on iTunes, this app provides swimmers, surfers and lifeguards with information on sharks spotted along the shoreline.

The application also provides real-time information on sea and wind conditions, as well as other valuable safety hints.


5. This clever device tackles one of the biggest problems facing world oceans today. Plastic debris is not biodegradable. In 2015 it was estimated that more than 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris were floating in oceans. Local harbour authorities and a Dutch-based company collaborated to use these aquadrones to collect 500kg of waste before returning it to a collection point. These solar-powered machines will be clearing South African waterways very soon.

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