World-changing inventions: what about South Africa’s Hall of Fame? (August 2011 issue)

World-changing inventions: what about South Africa's Hall of Fame? (August 2011 issue)
Date:25 July 2011 Tags:, , ,

We expect this month’s cover story to trigger a flood of e-mails, most of them expressing outrage at the absence of world-changing South African inventions in our US-sourced list of “101 gadgets that changed the world”. What about the world-changing dolos?, we hear you cry. How about the Kreepy Krauly, the Tellurometer, the epithelial scrubber, the CyberTracker, the Hippo water roller, the Scheffel bogie, the computed axial tomography (CAT) scan, the Colindictor…?

Actually, that’s where you come in. While we work on a follow-up article focusing on the local picture, you are cordially invited to submit (and rank from 1 to 10) your own suggestions for a list of Great South African Inventions, motivating each choice with a short paragraph. The devices need not be world-changing (you know, like the all-American SuperSoaker water pistol featured in August’s issue), but if we like what you say – even if we disagree with your reasoning – we’ll include it in our online update.

E-mail your list to with “Best SA Inventions” in the subject line, and please ensure we receive it by 15 August. If you have a special reason for nominating a particular invention, or have actually met the inventor, tell us about it. Our intention is to focus attention of South Africa’s formidable inventive skills – past and present – in the run-up to Invent 2011 (see details elsewhere in this issue) and the search for South Africa’s Inventor of the Year.

Moving along, we acknowledge the huge surge of interest in tablets by expanding our earlier comparison table (July issue) into a showcase of the top 10 contenders, plus a couple of newcomers from left field (see “Great stuff, page 22). We also take a look at two leading e-readers, Amazon’s hugely popular Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s no less compelling Nook Color.

Many people are finding it difficult to keep pace in this vigorous market, which sees new and innovative tablets making their appearance with startling regularity. However, this is hardly a bad thing; it keeps the longer-established players (Apple, et al) on their technological toes and helps to maintain prices at reasonable levels.

Interestingly, not everyone is enamoured of touchscreens, and we know at least one frequent traveller who swears by his Atom-powered, Windows-equipped netbook. Either way, we continue to revel in the near-instant connectivity that keeps us in touch with our ever-changing world. Vroom!

– Alan Duggan (

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