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 2020.


South Africa (14 December 2020) – Innovation thrives in countries where there are fewer options for employment. In South Africa, there is plenty of innovation. During 2020, we witnessed many success stories as South Africans innovated new ways to better their own lives and those around them.

Here are 6 incredible innovations from South Africans.

Portia Mavhungu – The Para Tube Innovation.

Portia Mavhungu innovated a seating system for people with disabilities and earned herself an award for her innovation in 2017. She used her R 200,000 prize money to further innovate and finalise her invention, the ‘Para Tube’ – a wheelchair seating system that allows a person with disabilities to use the toilet without having to be lifted out of their chair.

The innovation offers a level of dignity to a person who is in a wheelchair. Portia has faced production setbacks due to the pandemic but she plans of rolling out her innovation in the new year, starting with nursing homes and hospitals.

Musa Maluleka – Disktjie Shoes.

Growing up in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, Musa Maluleka knows the struggles of playing soccer on gravel. Years of boot damage led him to innovate a pair of soccer boots that earned the title Best Student Innovation of the Year 2020.

Musa developed a sturdy pair of soccer boots that have much larger studs which can withstand the gravel pitches. He started a company called Disktjie Shoes and has pledged to raise funds to donate 500 pairs to children in need.

Prof Tahir Pillay, Dr Bettina Chale-Matsau, and Mr Reggie Govender -Rapid Test for SARS-CoV2.

Professor Tahir Pillay, Dr Bettina Chale-Matsau, and Mr Reggie Govender led the innovation to create a rapid test for the pandemic in South Africa. The innovation went on to with the top prize for the 2020 Innovtion Hub’s competition with the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP).

MicroMab Diagnostics / UP received the first prize for their innovation: A rapid, and cheap test strip/kit for SARS-CoV2 using nanobodies, a special type of antibody produced in bacteria, to detect viral proteins. This technology will result in several rapid tests for diagnosis during acute infection, and for diagnosis of carrier states based on viral protein antigen detection.

Lindiwe Matlali – Africa Teen Geeks.

Lindiwe Matlali established Africa Teen Geeks to give South African children the opportunity to access computing education and to inspire Africa’s future generation of entrepreneurs in science and technology. Africa Teen Geeks was a direct response to the needs of those disproportionally affected by the COVID pandemic.

This social innovation has been recognised globally, and Lindiwe is one of 23 changemakers internationally who is being recognised for social innovation by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

Allan Goldberg, Sarah Custodio and the late Paul Van Lingen – iHarvey Innovation.

The Trio worked for years developing the device, known as the “iHarvey” – a small, safe and friendly energy harvester that converts heat from burning paraffin, into basic usable electricity for lighting, and USB charging.

The device was developed with the user in mind – typically a family with minimal income, using paraffin for cooking and lighting, and no quick or safe access to a USB charging facility. They had also found that a huge number of households burn down due to poorly built lanterns, or open flame candles – to which the iHarvey has been designed in a way that specifically keeps the user safe at all times.

Envirosan – Hand Washing Device for Informal Settlements.

Due to the central role of hand-washing in slowing the transmission of COVID-19, a small pilot project was run in an informal settlement north of Johannesburg using a novel innovation manufactured by South African company Envirosan.

The simple hand-washing unit comprises a standard two-litre plastic bottle that is fitted with a self-closing tip tap valve. The bottle is placed into a wall-mounted plastic bracket incorporating a ribbed soap holder and peg to accommodate a face cloth or small towel.

It was picked up by a few corporations that helped fund the installation in several informal settlements across Gauteng.

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 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 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: Various (Linked Above)
Don’t ever miss the Good Things. Download the Good Things Guy App now on Apple or Google
Have something to add to this story? Please share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens or share your good news with us by clicking here
Click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast, with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes that there’s good news all around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:
Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll hopefully leave you feeling a little more proudly South African. 

Facebook Comments

Tyler Leigh Vivier
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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *