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General Discussion & Feedback => Just Chat! => Topic started by: Alan McDougall on 16/07/2016 02:05:35

Title: What you might not know about South Africa?
Post by: Alan McDougall on 16/07/2016 02:05:35

South Africa

Has a first world infrastructure?

Produced 9 Atom Bombs more powerful than the one that destroyed Hiroshima.

Invented the "Cat Scanner"

Has a huge nuclear powered Power Station, just outside Cape town.

Elon Musk born and raised in South Africa

Mark Shuttleworth was one of the first civilians to pay his way out of his own pocket and go to the  International Space station.


South Africans can be incredibly creative in order to help other people and make our lives better.

Here’s our list of the most innovative South African inventions – and many of their inventors are from pretty unassuming places too!

CAT Scan

The Computed Axial Tomography Scan or CAT was developed by Cape Town physicist Allan Cormack and his associate Godfrey Hounsfield. He provided the mathematical technique for the CAT scan, in which an X-ray source and electronic detectors are rotated about the body and the resulting data is analysed by a computer to produce a sharp map of the tissues within a cross-section of the body. This resulted in a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

Oil from Coal (Sasol)

When the South African government realised that South Africa had minimal oil reserves, this led to the South African Coal Oil and Gas Corporation (Sasol). Sasol is the world’s first – and largest – oil-from-coal refinery and it provides 40% of the country’s fuel.

Heart Transplant

The world’s first heart transplant was performed by Dr Chris Barnard in Cape Town on 3 December 1967. The patient Louis Washkansky was suffering heart failure at the time and Dr Barnard took the chance to operate him. After that, Barnard became an international celebrity. He went on to perform more than 10 other heart transplants, with one of the recipients surviving a further 23 years.

Kreepy Krauly

The swimming pool vacuum cleaner was invented by Ferdinand Chauvier from Springs. Chauvier tried to figure out a way to take the hassle out of pool cleaning. The result was the Kreepy Krauly and the first one was created in 1974. Our dads have been happy ever since.

Pratley’s Putty

George Pratley invented Pratley’s Putty while trying to create a glue that would hold components in an electrical box. Pratley’s Glue had a part in the success of the Moon Landing. In 1969 the substance was used to hold bits of the Apollo XI mission’s Eagle landing craft together.


Create by Eric Merrifield, Dolosse are large, unusually shaped concrete blocks weighing up to 20 tons. The structures are designed to break up wave action and protect harbour walls and coastal installations.

South African flag on giant dolos


Q20 was invented in 1950 in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal by a Mr Robertson, as a product to displace water from the distributor caps on the old VW Beetle, which was notorious for stalling in wet weather. It was an effective water repellent, kept rust at bay, eased squeaky door hinges, and made it easy to release rusted or seized nuts and bolts. Initially he did not know what to call it but he told his neighbour that it certainly had 20 answers to 20 questions.

The secret behind Q20 is that it is heavier than water. Since oil floats on water, simply oiling the area will not resolve the problem. But because Q20 has a specific gravity of 1.154, it can displace water which only has a specific gravity of 1. Once Q20 is sprayed on water, it sinks to the bottom, where it acts as a water displacer and lubricant on the problem area.

Retinal Cryoprobe

Selig Percy Amoils, a specialist in retinal diseases, created a new method of cataract surgery. He developed this method at Baragwanath hospital in Soweto. Amoils achieved wide recognition for his invention and in 1975 received a Queen’s Award for Technological Innovation. His cryoprobe has since been on display in the Kensington Museum in London.

Speed Gun

This invention could only come from a cricket loving country. Henri Johnson invented the Speedball in 1992. The device accurately measures the speed and angles of speeding objects such as cricket and tennis balls.

Smartlock Safety Syringe

Smartlock safety syringes provide improved protection against needlestick injury and contamination by Ebola virus, Hepatitis and HIV. This invention has saved countless lives.



Sandra Prinsloo, South African actress (born 1947) (The Gods Must Be Crazy, Quest for Love (1988 film)) stage(afrikaan adaption of Miss Julie which saw the first on-screen kiss between a black man and a white woman)

Peter Cartwright, actor (born 1935)

Sharlto Copley, actor, (District 9) (born 1973)

Tanit Phoenix, actress (Death Race: Inferno, Lord of War, Safe House, Femme Fatales, Mad Buddies) (born 1984)

Embeth Davidtz, actress (born 1965)

Willie Esterhuizen, actor

Brett Goldin, actor (1977–2006)

David James, actor, stage, television, and film actor (born 1972)

Sid James, film & television actor (1913–1976)

Adhir Kalyan, actor (born 1983)

John Kani, actor, entertainer and writer (born 1943)
Alice Krige, actress (born 1954)

Sean Michael (South African actor), (born 1969)

Patrick Mynhardt, actor (1932–2007)

Winston Ntshona, actor (born 1941)

Sasha Pieterse, actress (born 1996)

Basil Rathbone, actor (1892–1967)

Stelio Savante, actor (born 1970)

Hennie Jacobs, actor (born 1981)

Clive Scott, actor (born 1937)

Antony Sher, actor, author and painter (born 1949)

Cliff Simon, actor (born 1962)

William Smith, TV teacher and presenter

Janet Suzman, actress (born 1939)

Charlize Theron, actress (born 1975)

Pieter-Dirk Uys, political satirist and entertainer (born 1945)

Musetta Vander, actress (born 1969)

Arnold Vosloo, actor (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, 24) (born 1962)

Maps Maponyane, actor (born 1990)


And much more?


Nobel Prize Winners

Max Theiler, (1899-1972.) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for vaccine for Yellow Fever. "for his discoveries concerning yellow fever and how to combat it"

Allan McLeod Cormack (1924-1998.) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for x-ray tomography. Born and studied in SA. X-ray work started in Cape Town before emigration to USA. Co-inventor of the CT scanner."for the development of computer assisted tomography"

Albert Lutuli, Peace, 1960. Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Aaron Klug (1926-). 1982 Nobel prize in Chemistry for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes. Born Lithuania, raised and educated in SA, moved to UK in 1950s to pursue research work.

Desmond Tutu Peace, 1984

Nadine Gordimer Literature 1991 "who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity"

Nelson Mandela Peace 1993 and

FW de Klerk Peace 1993 "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa"

Sydney Brenner Physiology or Medicine 2002 for work in RNA biology."for their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death'" Born and educated in SA, moved to England to pursue research work.

J. M. Coetzee, Literature, 2003 "who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider"


South African scientists

Andrew Geddes Bain, geologist (1797–1864)

Peter Beighton, geneticist (born 1934)

Wilhelm Bleek, linguist (1827–1875)

Robert Broom, palaeontologist (1866–1951)

Sydney Brenner, biologist, 2002 Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prize winner (born 1927)

Phillip Clancey, ornithologist (1918–2001)

Allan McLeod Cormack, physicist (1924–1998)

Clement Martyn Doke, linguist (1893–1980)

Mulalo Doyoyo, professor and inventor (born 1970)

Alexander du Toit, geologist (1878–1948)

Robert Allen Dyer, botanist (1900–1987))

J. W. B. Gunning, zoologist (1860–1913)

David Lewis-Williams, archaeologist (born 1934)

Lucy Lloyd, anthropologist (1834–1914)

Thebe Medupe, astrophysicist (born 1973)

Hans Merensky, geologist (1871–1952)

Austin Roberts, zoologist (1883–1948)

Peter Sarnak, mathematician (born 1953)

Ramotholo Sefako, astrophysicist (born 1971)

Buyisiwe Sondezi, physicist (born 1976)

Basil Schonland, physicist (1896–1972)

J.L.B. Smith, ichthyologist (1897–1968)

Phillip Tobias, palaeontologist (1925–2012)

Just the tip of the iceberg really