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From durable Pratley Putty to the slinky Kreepy Krauly, South Africans are known for coming up with clever products and innovations that make life a little easier. Here are four that are perfectly in step with the latest consumer trends.
To be successful, a new product or service has to address a basic human or societal need, fulfil the desire to explore new territory and make the world work a little better, or solve a frustrating problem.
Africa is no different and in 2018 consumers on the continent were looking to brands that do the following:
Here are just four of the young South African companies that are living up to consumers’ expectations.
CyberTracker has become a vital conservation tool and is used to monitor wildlife around the globe – gorillas in the Congo, butterflies in Switzerland and marine turtles in the Pacific. An icon interface reduces data input errors and allows users to input data at a speed and level not possible before. It’s main advantage, though, is the software developed by physicist Louis Liebenberg and computer scientist Justin Steventon which uses an image-based interface and is not dependent on a user’s reading and writing skills.
Fashion designer Reggie Xaba put his best foot forward with his luxury footwear brand, iFele, which has been worn on runways from Johannesburg to Milan.
Using a simple, traditional Zulu sandal called izimbadada as inspiration, Xaba has reinterpreted and reinvented the concept for the modern global consumer, the ‘African urban nomad’ as he says, and created a style statement that shouts ‘proudly South African.’
By now, most of us agree that single-use plastic has to go if we are to create a more sustainable future, and one of the items that has been given the boot in many countries is the plastic straw.
Cue ForEVA straws, the brainchild of Megan Johnson. While Megan didn’t invent these hygienic, reusable, high-quality stainless-steel straws, she refined the idea after seeing something similar in Bali. The name ForEVA was inspired by her late grandmother, Eva, who had raised her. Megan wanted to create a lasting legacy and the result is a straw that is available in packs of four, with a cleaning brush – the first of its kind to be commercially available in South Africa.
Every year there are devastating house fires in townships across South Africa and a Medical Research Council report estimates that more than 50 000 South Africans will suffer burn injuries in a year, the vast majority coming from poorer communities.
In response, Francois Petousis, an engineering student at the time, together with a lecturer and a few fellow students, invented Lumkani (‘be careful’ in Xhosa). The low-cost early-warning devices register rapid spikes in temperature and because all devices within a 60-metre radius are linked wirelessly, an alarm is triggered that alerts all the connected homes if there is a fire.