Africa, home to the largest river in the world, is the second-largest continent in the world. We have the biggest desert in the world too, but did you know that Africa is also home to some amazing inventions? Let’s have a look at a few things that originated in Africa.
One of the most popular warm beverages originates from Ethiopia where the red cherries, used to make coffee, grow wild. It is said to date back to the 10th century when nomads would eat the cherries rather than use them to make a drink. Ethiopia’s coffee beans can be found in many coffee shop menus around the world.
Home of the Portuguese flame-grilled peri-peri style chicken, Nando’s started in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, South Africa in 1987. Nando’s has spread across the globe and is available in 30 countries with over 1200 outlets.
- Kreepy Krauly
In 1974, Ferdinand Chauvier from Springs, Johannesburg invented the swimming pool vacuum cleaner to make pool cleaning less of a hassle. The Kreepy Krauly has been intriguing kids and making dads happy ever since.
Mr Robertson from Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal invented Q20 in 1950 as a product to displace water from the distributor caps on the old VW beetle. Q20 displaces moisture from electrical equipment, is used for rust prevention, protects against corrosion, and lubricates sticky mechanisms – a product that had 20 answers to 20 questions. The product is now sold in America, Australia, Europe and Asia.
- Computerized Ticketing
Computicket, the world’s first computerised, centralised ticket booking system, revolutionised the events and entertainment industry. Invented in 1971 by Percy Tucker from Benoni, Johannesburg, people no longer had to stand in queues for hours on end only to find out the cheapest tickets where no longer available. From booking travel, accommodation, events, and race tickets, to buying virtual vouchers, the service has expanded in South Africa and internationally.
The National Sharks Board invented SharkPOD in 1996 to repel sharks. The device creates an electrical field around the diver that temporarily affects the shark’s sensory and neuromuscular systems. It doesn’t harm the shark and it definitely makes us a little more comfortable venturing into their territory.
- Shea Butter
A proudly African product is shea butter – the fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree which is widely used in cosmetics. Native to West Africa, Shea butter has a high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids and has an easy-to-spread consistency. Cleopatra is said to have used shea butter making it valuable during her reign.
- CAT Scans
The CAT scan allows doctors to see inside your body creating pictures of your organs, bones, and other tissue. It is far more detailed than a regular X-ray. It was developed, in 1963, by Allan Cormack, a physicist from Cape Town, together with his associate Godfrey Hounsfield. Cormack shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with his associate.
- Heart transplant
On the 3rd of December 1967, Chris Barnard, at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, performed the first world’s first human-to-human heart transplant. A 53-year-old grocer, Louis Washkansky, received the heart of a young women. After gaining consciousness, he was able to talk and on occasion walk, but he passed away from pneumonia eighteen days after the transplant.
- Speed gun
In 1992, Henri Johnson invented the world’s first radar gun which measured the speed and angle of fast-flying balls. This device is placed at either end of a cricket ground and takes a reading every 1/1000 of a second.
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- 5 inventions you didn’t know were South African. Cape Town Helicopters. https://www.helicopterscapetown.co.za/news/5-inventions-you-didnt-know-were-south-african (Accessed on 11 April 2022)
- 10 World-First inventions you probably didn’t know were invented by South Africans. First Car Rental. https://www.firstcarrental.co.za/news/travel/10-great-south-african-inventions.html (Accessed on 11 April 2022)
- Dr Chris Barnard performs the world’s first human heart transplant. South African History Online. https://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/dr-chris-barnard-performs-worlds-first-human-heart-transplant (Accessed on 11 April 2022)
- Ethiopia Red Cherry. https://www.bespoke-coffee.com/product/ethiopia-red-cherry/ (Accessed on 25 April 2022)
- CRC Industries RSA (Pty) Ltd. https://q20.co.za/ (Accessed on 25 April 2022)
- https://tickets.computicket.com/ (Accessed on 25 April 2022)
- Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shea_butter (Accessed on 25 April 2022)
- What Is Shea Butter? 22 Reasons to Add It to Your Routine. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/what-is-shea-butter#skin-type (Accessed on 25 April 2022)
- A (2020) What is a CT Scan? https://www.webmd.com/cancer/what-is-a-ct-scan#:~:text=A%20computed%20tomography%20(CT%20or,any%20part%20of%20your%20body (Accessed on 25 April 2022)
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_South_African_inventions_and_discoveries#:~:text=1963%20The%20CT%20scan%2C%20or,work%20on%20X%2Dray%20CT (Accessed on 25 April 2022)
- Speed gun, the South African invention that changed global sports since 1999. https://face2faceafrica.com/article/speed-gun-the-south-african-invention-that-changed-global-sports-since-1999 (Accessed on 25 April 2022)