In celebration of Africa day, we decided to dive deep into the African renaissance, particularly South Africa’s contributions in innovation and invention. Here are our Top 5 favourite (South) African innovations:
- Shaka Zulu’s War Tactics
The most commonly used military tactic used in modern warfare is the Bull Horn Formation. The basics of the tactic is: two factions flank left and right forming the horns of the formation, usually comprised of the younger warriors. They cut off the advancing force from the sides, as well as halt supplies and any back-up. While the older veterans form part of the second wave in the centre of the formation to attack, as well as a rear guarding force to watch for an sort of ambush.
- JB Radar Transmitter
This began its life built from second hand parts and built in 1939. It has since become the “secret weapon” of the African continent. Some believe this lightweight radar performs better than its more elaborate and bulky predecessor made by well-funded “wizards” in England in 1935.
No one really knows the origin of this instrument of auditory torture, but back in 2010 the Nazareth Baptist Church claimed it as their own, stating that it was used by their congregation while on pilgrimages. They threatened legal acton to stop them being used during the Soccer World Cup of that year (obviously the complaints fell on deaf ears). According to studies, a vuvuzela at full volume and when pressed directly against your ear can cause permanent hearing loss if exposed for an extended period of time.
- The Marula fruit
This fruit is indigenous to the woodlands of southern Africa and is the main component of Amarula Cream which was first marketed to the public in 1989. Since then it has been ranked third among the best selling liqueurs. The Marula fruit has several other benefits. It has eight times the vitamin C as an orange, rich in antioxidants and high levels of protein and energy. The oil extracted from the seeds is good for hair and skin, and is used in the making of cosmetic products. The leaves of the tree can be used to relieve heartburn, and the bark can be used in the treatment of diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea and malaria. The skin of the fruit can be dried and used as a substitute for coffee. The fruit can also be used as a pesticide.
- Honeybush tea and Rooibos tea
Both these teas have curative properties. Honey Bush tea can be used to help the fight against obesity and diabetes. Rooibos tea can help with headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, bone weakness, hypertension and certain allergies. Along with Karoo Lamb, these teas are protected by intellectual property law, food labelling legislation and the Agricultural Standard Act. These products are known as GIs (Geographic Indicators) – think of tequila and champagne – if not produced in South Africa, it can’t be called Rooibos Tea, Honey Bush Tea and Karoo Lamb.
These are only five of the amazing thing South Africa has contributed to the world. South Africa, and b extension Africa, has a lot more to offer the world than previously thought. Celebrate Africa day by supporting African products and innovations.