Saturday, May 21

8 South African world firsts


South Africa isn’t just the home of Melktert, Bunny Chow, Madiba and Table Mountain, there are other pretty cool things which have been invented here.

Here are 8 South African firsts that have changed the world:

Rooibos Tea – This one should come as no surprise. Going back as far as 1772 (and probably even further back), Swedish naturalist Carl Thunberg noted locals made tea from a plant related to rooibos. It has no caffeine and is drunk as regular tea (with or without milk) or as a red espresso, latte or even used to flavour desserts and ice creams.

Pinotage – a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut grapes, is a variety that was first created in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, pinotage is now South Africa’s signature variety wine grape.

CT Scan – was developed by Cape Town physicist Allan Cormack and his associate Godfrey Hounsfield. Hounsfield and his colleagues built the first CAT-scan machine in 1972. Both Cormack and Hounsfield were awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1979.

Dolos – You’ve seen those weird geometric shapes at harbours, yup, those are dolosse. Weighing up to 20 tons, they were developed in East London in 1963 and are used to protect harbour walls from the erosive force of ocean waves.

Heart Transplant – Dr Chris Barnard performed the world’s first human to human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 3 December 1967. The operation took 9 hours and changed the course of medical history.

Computerised ticketing – Who would’ve guessed that the world’s first computerised ticketing system was invented in South Africa? Computicket, founded by Percy Tucker, holds the title of being the world’s first computerised ticketing system.

Kreepy Krauly – How would we clean our pools properly without the Kreepy Krauly. Ferdinand Chauvier, originally hailing from the then Belgian Congo, is the creator of the Kreep Krauly. After much trial and error, the original version that we now know was created in 1978.

Ubuntu – The open source operating system Ubuntu, which runs on Linux, was created by Mark Shuttleworth. The first release of the OS was in October 2004.


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