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Top 10 African Inventors

/ September 30, 2014

Africa is the second most populous continent in the world. It has produced some inventors, whose inventions are helping millions worldwide.

Here is a brief overview of the top 10 African inventors.

Arthur Zang  (CardioPad)

This Cameroonian engineer invented the CardioPad, a touch-screen medical tablet that enables heart examinations like ECG to be performed at remote locations. The results of the test can be transferred to specialists wirelessly for further investigation.


Dr. Trevor Lloyd Wadley (Tellurometer)

This South African electrical engineer invented the tellurometer in 1959. It is also known as Micro-Distancer MRA 1. This inventor developed an ionosonde for measuring earth’s ionosphere. He also developed the Wadley loop circuit for greater stability in communication receivers.


Photo courtesy of the Alberta Land Surveyor

Allan McLeod Cormack (CT Scanner)

This South African physicist was the first to analyze the possibilities of developing a radiological cross-section of a biological system. His extensive research and experiments provided the theoretical foundation. The CT scanner was built on this foundation. He published two papers of this invention in 1963 and 1964. It was later that British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield developed the first commercially successful CAT scanners. Cormack shared the Nobel Prize award with Hounsfield in 1979 for his invention of this major medical achievement.


Rachid Yazami (Graphite Anode)

This Moroccan scientist is well-known for his research on lithium ion batteries and on fluoride ion batteries. He invented graphite anode of lithium ion batteries. Today companies like Samsung, Nokia, Apple and more uses this African invention. Yazami earned his graduation at the Grenoble Institute of Technology, followed by a Ph. D. (1985) at the same institute.


William Kamkwamba (Electricity-Generating Windmill)

This Malawian inventor is also an author. He became famous after building a windmill to power few electrical appliances at his family home in Masitala using blue gum trees, bicycle parts and materials collected from a local shipyard. Since then he has made a solar-powered water pump that supplies drinking water to his village.


Erik (HASH) Hersman via Wikipedia

Louis Liebenberg and Lindsay Stevenson (Cybertracker)

These South African inventors invented Cybertracker, a hand-held computer that helps in tracking animals in the field. They connected the unit to a satellite navigation system in 1996. The unit’s graphic interface makes it possible for illiterate people to use it with ease.

Louis Liebenberg and Lindsay Stevenson (Cybertracker)

Gordon Mayhew-Ridgers & Paul van Jaarsveld (Quiet Cellular Antenna)

These South African inventors invented a quiet cellular antenna technology that reduces noisy emissions from cellular base stations in the region for Vodacom. It was needed to offer mobile services in the Karoo region without compromising the SKA.


George Pratley (Pratley Putty)

This South African inventor’s famous glue is the only South African invention that has been to the moon. The putty was used to hold bits of the Apollo XI mission’s Eagle landing craft together in 1969. Hundreds of tons of Pratley putty have been exported to many countries worldwide.


Ferdinand Chauvier (Pool Cleaner)

This hydraulics engineer invented the swimming pool vacuum cleaner (Kreepy Krauly). This automatic vacuum cleaner is efficiently powered by the ordinary operation of the pool’s filter. Today Kreepy Krauly is helping many people in South Africa and around the world.


Henri Johnson (Speed Gun)

This Somerset West inventor developed the speed gun, which accurately measures the speed and angles of speeding objects like cricket and tennis balls. This gizmo was formally launched at the Oval in England during the 1999 Cricket World Cup. It is used in many cricket-playing nations.


The above-mentioned inventors have had immense positive impact in Africa. They inspire millions of young Africans.