Photo Credit: On File

South Africa is filled with innovative thinkers, all of whom are coming up with ways to change the world and create jobs for fellow South Africans, these are the innovations of 2019.


South Africa – Innovation thrives in countries where there are fewer options for employment. In South Africa, there is plenty of innovation. During 2019, we witnessed many success stories as South Africans innovated new ways to better their own lives and those around them.

Here are 8 incredible innovations from South Africans.

Smart Glove’ to translate sign language into sound.

Lucky Netshidzati was born to two deaf parents, as a way to communicate more effectively with them, he innovated a smart glove that has sensors which turn sign language into. Lucky is at the end of his research and development phase and is now working to build the finances needed to get the glove invention to the commercial phase.

Charity makes Owl Boxes by turning recycled plastic into useable planks.

The Owl Rescue Centre started collecting plastic in January 2018 and aimed for just 200 tonnes at the time to start recycling and converting it into owl shelters, bat houses and bee hotels. The organisation has a number of useful machines which work to convert plastic into planks which are then used to create a number of structures.

BabyTurtle, a mobile solar kiosk that can be used in rural, off-grid areas.

Lungelwa Tyali, an entrepreneur from rural Eastern Cape and co-founder of SolarTurtle, hopes to develop the BabyTurtle, a mobile solar kiosk that can be used in rural, off-grid areas to provide immediate relief for people that struggle to keep their phones and lights on.

Umgibe, risen vegetable gardens, protecting vegetables from rogue farm animals.

It was a cancer diagnosis and hungry chickens that led Nonhlanhla Joye to devise an ingenious vegetable growing solution, which now feeds over 10,000 people. Nonhlanhla developed a system using plastic packets.

In 2014 Ma’Joye, as she’s fondly known, needed to find a way to support her family after being diagnosed with cancer. The KwaZulu-Natal woman decided to plant vegetables in her backyard, but those were promptly eaten by chickens. Not to be defeated, Ma’Joye created growing bags by suspending plastic bags destined for the landfill, on wooden frames. This provided protection from the chickens saved water and fed her family.

To date, she employs 28 people, teaching as many people as possible to grow vegetables using this method.

Kusini Water uses the by-product of Macadamia farming to create safe drinking water.

Entrepreneur Murendeni Mafumo uses macadamia nut shells to purify water and hopes that his innovation will mean safe drinking water for thousands of South Africans.

South Africa is the largest macadamia producer in the world, and Mafumo uses locally-sourced shells to make an activated carbon filter with a nanofiber membrane.

The filters can be made in different sizes to be used on most water sources. They work on a low-pressure system which can be gravity-fed or solar-powered, eliminating the need for electricity and making them ideal for providing safe drinking water in rural and informal settlements.

Technotherm innovated to reduce landfills and address an energy crisis.

Technotherm’s pyrolysis machine could be used to reduce the need for landfill sites, and at the same time contribute energy to South Africa’s strained power grid.

The pyrolysis units use high temperatures to decompose organic waste (such as sugar cane or bamboo), plastic or sewage, in an oxygen-free environment, without producing harmful emissions. The gases created by the process can be used to power turbines to create electricity, bio-oils can be used as diesel and fertiliser.

Student creates a medical diagnostic algorithm to detect illness sooner.

Camps Bay High School Grade 11 student, Storm Rhoda from Hout Bay, has won multiple awards for his Science Project – “Leveraging Machine Learning to Improve Medical Diagnosis”. The algorithm is said to help yield faster results when testing for illnesses like pneumonia.

Green plasters, PATCH innovates way to remove plastic from wound care.

PATCH Strips SA recently won an environmental award for innovating wound care in South Africa. Their model focussed on removing plastic from plasters. The Bamboo Plasters are the world’s first organic, hypoallergenic and biodegradable wound care solution.

These people are Playing their Part for South Africa!

Brand South Africa Play Your part

Play Your Part is a nationwide movement created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. Its objective is to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing – because a nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone. The campaign is driven by the Brand South Africa.

Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates to individuals, NGOs to government, churches to schools, young to not so young. It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.

There are numerous opportunities, big and small, for each and every South African to make a positive difference in the communities in which they live and operate. Play Your Part encourages them to act on these opportunities.

For more information on how you can play your part click here #GetInvolved #PlayYourPart

Sources: Good Things Guy 
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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