We have produced four Nobel prize winners in the fields of chemistry, physics and medicine, and both Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworth are South African-born and bred, even though they both ply their respective trades overseas these days.
Here at home we have companies that continue to invent, innovate and disrupt and in the process give themselves and the country a competitive edge in so many ways.
As advocates of everything South African and promoters of the buy local message, we constantly confront negative perceptions about the value of locally manufactured and produced goods. These detractors couldn't be more wrong.
We have products available here in South Africa that stand head and shoulders above their international counterparts in beauty and functionality. That are trailblazing and leading the rest of the world, showing them the way.
Technology has made massive advances in the last decades - we speak frequently now about the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and far from being backward as many would have us believe, according to the Siemens and Deloitte African digitalisation maturity report 2017, South Africa is rated as having the highest digital literacy in Africa.
But even as we embrace technology, we are also seeking a more simple purity in our lives and there is a drive to include more local, natural products into our cosmetics, food and drink.
Many South African innovations are putting the emphasis on sustainability and on reducing our carbon footprint.
Proudly South African has many member companies that are displaying all of these characteristics of excellence. In the beautiful category, Laduma by MaXhosa’s shawl was voted Most Beautiful Object in South Africa in 2016. (No wonder Zara wanted to copy his Xhosa-inspired designs!)
In the simple and natural category, Sister Jenny of Jen-Til Touch has a range of completely natural healing and beauty creams that have outstanding results for users with skin conditions such as eczema, and we have many other cosmetics companies that are exploiting the natural properties of indigenous plants.
In the functional and cutting-edge category, African Applied Chemicals have formulated an insect repellent coated yarn that can be made into protective garments, making it a significant player in the fight against malaria.
Olympic Paints has patented their Flip '* Roll paint tray that is incorporated into the lid of the paint drum. It's simple, effective, original and truly Proudly South African. And the search is on for more great ideas. The Innovation Hub, a Proudly South African member and strategic partner, is currently running a competition for cool ideas in bio, med, ICT, green and gateway categories with prizes of seed money and business incubation.
Entries close this Friday so if you have something to submit go to www.theinnovationhub.com and look for the GAP Competition.
All this and so much more which we don’t have space to write about goes to show that South Africa and South Africans are up there with world-changing inspiring ideas as well as world-class execution.
As a Buy Local campaign, we are fortunate to be exposed to many of these world-class innovations.
We must never shy away from being Proudly South African and from supporting our own by buying our own.
This week I’m swopping my song for a book. Some of the information and inspiration for this column comes from Mike Bruton’s What a Great Idea-Awesome SA Inventions, published by Jacana. It’s fascinating and full of things and people that can claim to be proudly and cleverly South African.
Eustace Mashimbye is the chief executive of Proudly South African.
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.