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Which is South Africa’s greatest invention? Which South African individual or company invented the Digital Laser, Polyhammer, Ahifambeni hydrogen-powered motorbike, SKARAB reconfigurable application board, Thawte Internet Security System, Soweto Gold craft beer or the Dolos? Is it true that the first ‘computers’ in South Africa were people, that a South African invented the device that was used to drill the tunnels for the first London Underground railway, and that the GSM Dart was not the first production car made in South Africa?

To find the answers to these questions, and hundreds more, dip into Mike Bruton’s latest book, ‘What a Great Idea! Awesome South’ which was published by Jacana Media in December 2017 (253 pages, full colour; ISBN 978 1 4314 2427 6).














The book is arranged in 29 chapters, with an Introduction by the Minister, the honorable Naledi Pandor, and two introductory essays on ‘Africa: the Bright Continent’ and ‘The Importance of Ideas’. There are then 24 chapters on inventions in a wide range of fields, including Food & Cooking, Home & Garden, Agriculture & Rural Living, Health & Grooming, Music, Craft & Entertainment, Sport & Recreation, Radio & Radar, Communications, Electronics & Computers, Commerce & Fintech, City Planning, Industry & Mining, Transport, Military & Security, Energy, Environmental Management, Fisheries, and Space Science & Astronomy. The book ends with notes on our innovation infrastructure and on ‘How to become a great inventor’, and an essay on ‘The Value of Inventions’. There is also a comprehensive Reference & Reading List and Index.

Anyone with an interest in South African inventions and innovations, or who is tasked with promoting or raising awareness of innovation in South Africa, should own this book. The 29 chapters mention over 660 South African inventions and innovations by more than 400 inventors. In addition, 183 South African innovation institutions and companies are mentioned, and over 150 innovation concepts are discussed.

Want to know who invented Eina Ivy, Mxit, the Cryoprobe, CAT scanner, Xho-Pera, Marie biscuits, Reel Gardening, iStyla, the first bed, Shosholoza gum boots, SASSI, Cybertracker, Eish! chili sauce, Qolf, Woocommerce, the Vuvuzela or the Makarapa, then get this book! Or perhaps you want to develop a better understanding of the gig economy, inclusive design, the threat of robots, the triple bottom line, the role of disruption, the impact of millennials, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or the importance of bad ideas – you know where to go!


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