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Celebrate our African Innovators

Every so often we have to step away from our day-to-day lives and look at some of the amazing innovative gadgets being developed in the world around us.

Celebrate Our African Innovators
Celebrate Our African Innovators

In many cases when thinking about gadgets or innovation our minds automatically jump to people from first world countries. When thinking about innovators we think about Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Nikola Tesla, Bill Gates, The Wright brothers, Marie Curie and so on. But do we ever think about Richard Turere, Ludwick Marishane, or William Kamkwamba? Be honest, do you even really know who these guys are?

Well in short, they are some of most amazing innovators in Africa and they are not alone. Each year hundreds of amazing innovative ideas are transformed to actual products right in our own back yard. It is important that we not only celebrate these innovators and inventions, but learn and drawing our inspiration from these amazing African innovators.

Below are a couple of examples of some of the amazing inventions that came from Africa, these are not all the inventions, but enough to give you an idea of just how amazing our continent truly is.


Lion Lights by Richard Turere

Richard Turere is a young Maasai man who lived in the wilderness of the Kenyan savannah, on the edge of a national park full of Rhino, Giraffe, Buffalo and Lions. From the age of 9 Richard was honoured with the core to look after his father’s cattle. In his free time he tinkered with electronical gadgets, taking them apart and building them back together.

At the age of 13, Richard quickly realised that the surrounding Lions were killing his father’s cattle – so after some tampering he invented something called “Lion Lights”. “Lion Lights” are flashing lights placed strategically on farm fences to ward off Lions, but instead of boring you with the details we would recommend you watch Richard explain his invention in person.


Urine Powered Generator

The urine powered generator was first displayed in Lagos, November 2012 at the 4th annual Maker Faire Africa, a pan-African innovation fair. Three 14-year-olds, Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and 15-year-old Bello Eniola are the inventors of this piece of technology.

After realising the need for electricity in rural areas of their country, the youngsters invented a generator that is powered by Urine. Now this is by far not the final model and is not at all ready to be mass-produced, but at the same time we should be proud of the 4 Nigerian youngsters who took it upon themselves to invent a generator that could potentially relieve a serious issue in several third-world countries.


A bath without water by Ludwick Marishane

Ludwick Marishane, is a young entrepreneur from Limpopo who invented a cheap, clean and convenient solution called DryBath. Ludwick decided to pursue the dream of creating the first water-less bath after a joke one of his friends made; however after starting with his research he quickly realised that more than 2.5 Billion people in the world today do not have proper access to water and sanitation.

Ludwick now owns a company called HeadBoy and together with Dr. Hennie du Plessis and Lungelo Gumede they aim at releasing the DryBath product globally, especially to those with no or limited access to clean water.


How to harness the wind by William Kamkwamba

At the age of 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family’s house. Now at 22, William shares with us in his own words the moving tale of how his invention changed his life. You may think that a windmill is not really a new invention, but if you listen to the limited resources and materials William was working with it quickly become apparent that this is truly innovative.


The best African Mobile App: iCow

iCow is an Agricultural Information Service with a variety of products available as a subscription service. Created by a Kenyan farmer, Su Kahumbu, iCow is an app that works on the type of basic mobile phones farmers own.

Each animal is registered with the service, which then sends SMS reminders to the farmer about milking schedules, immunisation dates and tips about nutrition and breeding or information about local vets or artificial insemination providers.

It is times like this we should be proud to live in Africa, we should not only be proud, but rather draw inspiration from these inventors and start working on solutions that can help improve situations in our own country.

Let us know if you’ve found any other amazing African inventors and innovations.

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