By Satish Dhupelia
There are some elite individuals who have succeeded in ruining the reputation of South Africa and therefore giving it the status of a ‘Banana Republic’. Those individuals have disgraced the country in both regional and international spheres. Despite this, I am a proudly South African and I love my country.
The actions of such people should not serve as a representation of all South Africans. South Africa is made up of good’ friendly people who will smile at you and strike up a conversation – in the lift, at a traffic light, a bus stop; in fact, anywhere with total strangers.
This is the land that produced the likes of Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Chief Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg, MD Naidoo, Billy Nair, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Lawrence Anthony (The elephant whisperer) and so many other heroes in just a few generations – folk of whom we should be immensely proud of and who are famous in many other countries.
This is the land that took in a young inexperienced lawyer and sent back a Mahatma Gandhi. In addition to that, South Africa is blessed with scenic places such as the Drakensberg, Table Mountain, and Kruger National Park.
South Africa is also home to many brilliant inventors. The following list supplies a timeline of historic inventions, discoveries and achievements from 1892 to 2016.
- 1892 Street Lights – September 1892, Kimberley became the first city in the Southern Hemisphere and the second city in the world (after Philadelphia) to install electric street lights.
- 1950 Q20 invented by Mr. Robertson – used for lubrication, rust prevention, protection of industrial and household goods, and moisture displacement.
- 1960 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Chief Albert Luthuli President of the then banned African National Congress (ANC), for advocating non-violent resistance to racial discrimination in South Africa.
- In the 1960s, George Pratley, invented Pratley Putty, the only South African product that was used to hold parts together on the Apollo 11’s Eagle landing craft in 1969, which carried Neil Armstrong to the moon.
- In 1967, Christiaan Barnard was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transparent.
- In 1971, Percy Tucker invented Computicket, which is the world’s first complex computerized reservation system for ticket holders.
- 1977 Kreepy Krauly Pool Cleaner – Ferdinand Chauvier.
- 1992 Speed Gun – Henri Johnson used it to measure the speed and angles of speeding objects such as cricket and tennis balls.
- 1992 Smartlock Safety Syringe – Invented by 8 SA Scientists – it provides enhanced protection against needle stick injury and contamination by Ebola virus, Hepatitis and HIV. This invention has saved countless lives.
- 1996 – Vodacom – Vodacom was the first network in the world to introduce prepaid airtime on an Intelligent Network platform, which made it possible to debit customers’ accounts while they were speaking.
- Two South Africans developed the Hippo Water Roller; Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker. It reduces physical effort and increases the amount of transportable water.
- 2013 Mobile Science Lab – Nkosi Maseko – Invented it for schools that don’t have science lab facilities.
- 2014 – World’s first Digital laser – Sandile Ngcobo – the laser is technology that could change traditional manufacturing, communications and electronic devices
- In 2015, Gift Lubele designed Smart Plastic Holder to lessen the discomfort and pain of holding heavy shopping bags.
- Thulani Khoza, an entrepreneur from Mpumalanga will be launching his first SA locally designed and manufactured smartphone and tablets.
- 2016 Super Absorbent Material – Kiara Nirghin – South African schoolgirl Kiara Nirghin won the grand prize at the Google Science Fair for developing a cheap super-absorbent material to help soil retain water.
- 2016 DryBath – Ludwick Marishane invented the world’s first waterless bath gel at the age of 17, after he and his friends refused to take a bath.
Satish Dhupelia is a Communication Officer for the Sydenham Community Police Forum. He was a teacher before resigning after 14 years to pursue a passion in Television production. He is also the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. Dhupelia has filmed news clips for numerous television news organisations across the world. Now retired, Dhupelia is active in his community doing some great charity work assisting the poor.