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Not All Heroes Wear Capes - Celebrating African innovators

Here are 5 amazing African Innovators

It's always exciting reading about new inventions and people who have come up with innovations that will make our lives easier and better. Inventions/innovations from Africa do not get as much recognition as they deserve. We decided to highlight and celebrate some of the outstanding African inventors and their incredible work, which is revolutionising people's lives.

1. Brian Turyabagye designed a jacket that can detect if you are sick

Brian Turyabagye pictured by Brett Eloff

There are many times when we are under the weather, and we don't even realize it. It is when we start showing symptoms that we know that we are sick. A Ugandan inventor, Brian Turyabagye, came up with the idea of a jacket that diagnoses illnesses. The reason behind this invention was a pneumonia outbreak in the country. The disease had affected Ugandans and was the cause behind so many deaths. Turyabagye created a jacket that can detect and diagnose illnesses faster than doctors! This jacket is connected to a Bluetooth system and will send a notification to your phone to alert you. Currently, with Covid-19, I think the jacket is even more crucial as it can pick up on signs that we miss. 

2. Elizabeth Kperrun's app teaches toddlers their first words in different African languages.

Elizabeth Kperrun pictured by James Oatway 

Elizabeth Kperrun, a Nigerian innovator, started with her first app known as 'AfroTalez'. It was an educational app that taught kids different traditional African folk tales. She then went a step further to launch Teseem, an app that teaches toddlers their first words in many African languages. The app caters to babies and preschoolers from ages 1 to 5. Kids can learn their first words in Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, English and now Swahili. Teseem is such a great app because it helps teach kids different languages and cultures right from the start. It is so important to teach kids about diverse cultures and languages. It helps broaden their worlds and enrichens their knowledge. We also have a blog post on fun ways to teach kids about African culture, which you can read here.

3. Morris Mbetsa invented Africa's first flying taxi 

Morris Mbetsa pictured by and

Imagine instead of taking an uber to get you to your destination: you took a flying drone! You would never have to worry about traffic at all! Morris Mbetsa, a Kenyan aeronautical engineer, came up with the idea of a flying drone taxi. Mbetsa and his team made the prototype back in 2018. The drone can only carry one passenger and fly at a speed of 74.56 mph (120 km/hr). The flying drone is electrically charged and can go for a total of 25 minutes. I want to try a flying drone taxi at least once in my life. I know it would be scary, but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Would you be open to trying one?

4. Gabriella Mogale invented a way to make houses fireproof 

Gabriella Mogale pictured by Gallagher Foundation and Wiki Commons.

Over the years, there has been an increased number of fires across South Africa. They were especially concerned in low-income areas because of the dense population. An example is areas where there are many shacks built so close together (as pictured above). A 17-year old girl, Gabriella Mogale, invented a way for houses to be fireproof. She came up with the idea of having a protective layer between the building structures. These layers consist of different materials, such as cement and recyclable materials. They act as insulation and prevent houses from going up in flames in the event of a fire. What an incredible and innovative way to stop fire disasters from taking place.

5. Arthur Zhang came up with Africa's first medical tablet

Arthur Zhang pictured above. Images from Facebook and Himore Medical

Arthur Zhang, a Cameroonian inventor, designed a tablet known as a Cardio pad. It is used to conduct heart examinations by doctors. Since the Cardio pad is small and portable: it has made it much easier for doctors and health workers to provide services to people in rural and remote areas. It is also a cheaper option as compared to having the machines. The cardio pad is such a necessary invention because it has ensured that people have access to quality healthcare at a cheaper price. Other countries outside of Cameroon have also bought cardio pads to incorporate into their healthcare system.


There is a saying that says, "necessity is the mother of invention", and we can clearly see that. These are ordinary people who have taken it upon themselves to solve some of the challenges we often face. They are also people who think outside the box and aren't afraid to break boundaries. They deserve to be celebrated and acknowledged for their hard work!

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