Toilets, strollers and cosmetics

Clay from KZN used as a cosmetic, a leakless toilet valve, a baby stroller that is public transport-friendly … South Africans think up the most amazing things. The Design Institute is now on hand to help these ideas take flight with the 43 Challenge that is going from strength to strength. Read more about the candidates or watch the video on

Since January the Design & Innovation Entrepreneurship Centre – a SABS Design Institute initiative – has been buzzing with activity with the 43 Challenge. After an initial get-to-know-you session involving all the candidates, the past two weeks have seen the second contact sessions where candidates have been working with communication and industrial designers to bring their unique ideas to life. Other experts involved have been chemical engineers, academics and the like.

These three-day workshops are aimed at helping candidates to refine their products and tweaking their business cases and corporate identities. After these contact days the products designs will go to the technology stations and prototypes will be created for the products.

Five candidates were hosted in week 1 of February.

Themba Sehawu – Harvesting Scissors: An agricultural tool designed to help farm workers pick citrus fruit from high trees, thus eliminating the use of ladders and handheld scissors; it also has a bag that catches all the fruit that has been cut.

Paseka Lesolang – Leakless toilet valve: A system that prevents toilets from leaking. Leaking toilets can waste up to 500 litres a day and this novel system will eliminate this.

Thamasanqa  Ngqalo – Nerets Energy Saver Timer: Nerets is an attachment that is installed on a light switch and can be programmed to switch lights on and off at specific times. It also has a motion sensor so that it automatically switches on the light at the wall switch when movement is detected.

Mpumelelo Hlongwane – Imbali Baby: The Imbali baby is a baby stroller that can fold up very small so that people using public transport can easily get in and out of the vehicle. It is very light and easy to carry.

Shalton Mothwa – Battery-less remote control: This device harvests energy from radio waves in the air sent out by cellphone towers and radio towers, etc. This system eliminates the use of a battery and the remote can be used forever without ever having to change a battery.

In week 2 of the challenge, four different projects were tackled.

Omesan Nair’s iPad or smartphone app can be used to quantify a colour change in a biological assay or experiment. The application will be able to quantify an area associated with a reaction vessel by iPad digital image and capture and quantify the related pixels from the image. This is a novel method of quantification using image capture and pixel quantification and bridges the gap between the lab and the hospital.

Shadrack Litabe’s Saggetarious Serpentarious energy theft detection system is installed with the pre-paid meter in your house and detects when the electricity user is tampering with the electricity or when someone is trying to steal electricity. It consequently alerts the municipality and your power will get shut off.

Andile Thungo’s water purification system. Andile is working on a system for people living in rural and peri-rural areas to purify river water at home. It is a tablet which they place in the water and the water then goes through a system with different filters and levels and the water then comes out clean at the bottom where there is a tap.

Promise Mbuyazi is a young entrepreneur who is aiming to use clay as a cosmetic. This is a special kind of red clay that is found in KwaZulu-Natal where she is from. It is something that has been used in her culture for a very long time and the knowledge about using this has been passed down from generation to generation. She aims to develop this clay in such a way that anyone can use it and that it doesn’t leave the face red from it after it is applied thus making it possible for people to us it on a day to day basis.

More candidates from the 43 Challenges will be introduced in next month’s DI newsletter.

Follow the 43 Challenge on