26th February 2024 9:01 am
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Four SA inventions designed to make SA’s informal settlements safer

Millions of South Africans who cannot afford housing have no other choice but to live in shacks made of corrugated iron. The problem is that corrugated iron is a highly flammable material that’s not strong enough to withstand pressure from natural elements such as wind and rain, leading to thousands of deaths as a result of flooding and shack fires.

A number of startups have dedicated research and time to solutions that will help solve these issues and, hopefully, save lives. Below are four incredible projects:


The Lumkani fire-detector was created as a solution to the rampant shack fires that occur mostly during the winter season. The low-cost product is an early warning system which uses rate-of rise of temperature technology to accurately measure the incidence of dangerous fires and therefore limit the occurrence of false alarms.

Hundreds of Lumkani detectors have been sold in municipalities in the Cape Town area so far and the company plans to distribute the device around South Africa, as well as worldwide.Lumkani-IFBattery-Aug.27-e1414235935177

Nuru Lights and PowerCycle

Vijay Mitha’s company, Shakti Energy, develops products that produce light and electricity for people living in poor communities where there’s little or no access to power.

Shakti Energy is the South African distributor for the Nuru PowerCycle, a contraption that generates enough electricity to recharge mobile phones and power five Nuru Lights, the company’s LED-powered lighting product that can be mounted on surfaces, head straps, ceilings or bottles.

Energy is generated through the Nuru PowerCycle when a person pedals for 20 minutes.

Nuru products replace the need for candles and paraffin lamps but also provides more environmental friendly lighting.

5 Star Stoves

Paraffin stoves are one of the biggest causes of shack fires in South Africa. 5 Star Stoves aim to address this issue with its two-plate gas stove that can be used for clean cooking and heating in poor-energy households.

5 Star Stoves use renewable bio energy plantations from Renewable Energy Solutions (RES) Bio. Should a 5 Star Stove, tip over or fall, the stove’s flames die out immediatley, reducing the risk of combustion.


Shacurity manufactures a solar powered lights and fire alarm kits that also double up as a phone charger.

The kits are installed include a smoke and fire detector, a siren that sounds off once fire is detected, a panic button, a mini fire extinguisher, safety and protection circuits and LED lights.

fire kit[Main image- Development Progress]

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