Book Review – Innovation: Shaping South Africa Through Science

Innovation: Shaping South Africa Through Science by Sarah Wild (Pan Macmillan)

Innovation is the second book from multi-award winning science journalist and science editor at the Mail & Guardian, Sarah Wild.

The book is a compilation of smart and informative articles, grouped in five sections: Environment, Energy, Health, Industry and Education. As I progressed through the book, my sense of excitement grew at the extent and intricacy of the solutions and projects from all over the country in a plethora of disciplines, who knew?

Not only in spite of, but because of the challenges that are very specific to South Africa there are people at our universities and research facilities finding new ways to mitigate and ultimately solve the problems we face. Projects such as Mobile Laboratories to help small, rural farmers add diversity to their cattle flocks, the iShack solar panel power project for informal settlements and tablet roll-out to less advantaged schools to assist teachers, show insight into basic community needs.

Wild imparts enough technical knowledge to leave the reader feeling well informed on each article’s topic without causing overwhelm. I loved this book because it acknowledges how gutsy and original our researchers, scientists and engineers are.

Ewa Fabris


by Sarah Wild (Pan Macmillan) ISBN: 978-1-77010-438-9

More than just ideas – innovation is making ideas come to life to solve real life problems. Many people remember South African breakthrough ideas like the Kreepy Krauly, or the first heart transplant. But do we know what we’re doing right now in 2015?

This book is a fascinating, and really readable account of scientific innovation happening in South Africa today to address issues in many areas: environment, energy, health, industry and education. The author is an awarded science journalist and the science editor at the Mail & Guardian. She brings a depth of research and insight to what could easily be seen as difficult or even boring subject matter, but her approachable style makes everything accessible, understandable and incredibly interesting.

From ocean gliders sailing the southern ocean in search of weather data, to potentially life-saving genetic research, there is so much to discover about the amazing projects on the go in South Africa. I am still enjoying dipping into this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in how science can change the world.

Judy Ward

Posted on: 30th January 2016