by DIKELEDI NOKWANE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE parched lands of Motetema in the northernmost province of Limpopo in South Africa is not a place you would imagine meeting one of the world’s most prominent young inventors, a teenage one for that matter.
However, it is from these humble surrounding where Ludwich Marishane (27),
the man behind the waterless bath solution the world has marvelled at, hails.
Called DryBath, a lotion that could be applied to the body as a replacement for bathing the revolutionary gel, invented when Marishane was only 17, is gaining prominence at a time some communities in South Africa are grappling with water rationing.
The water cuts are in the wake of the worst drought in decades.
Cape Town, where the Bachelor of Business Science degree holder studied,is among the worst affected regions with dam level a mere 26 percent full on average.
Indirectly, the invention that has secured him global recognition and has been welcomed by government is also hailed as a breakthrough in addressing diseases such as trachoma, the eye condition blinding millions mostly in the continent, owing to poor hygiene.
Said to be first such solution in the world, the gel, which is applied using a damp cloth to wipe-off any visible dirt afterwards, provides mild protection against transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and lessens the need for skin lotion after use.
According to experts, harsh soaps and surfactants strip skin of moisture and contribute to TEWL.
DryBath is a proprietary blend of naturally-antiseptic essential oils,bioflavonoids, and odour-eliminating Tawas (used as a natural deodorant powder/rock in Asia for centuries).
DryBath is hailed as a handy solution for emergency situations when one has limited or no access to bath facilities.
It can be utilised for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and music festivals or for early morning situations when one has no time to shower or bathe.
The sharing of public facilities is also often not a convenient set up for most gym patrons, hence the innovation is seen playing a vital role in defamatory efforts to address the challenge.
The fact that the invention was inspired by a high friend of Marishane’s who was ever lazy to bath makes it even more remarkable.
Even more remarkable is the global recognition.
In 2011, he was rated as the best student entrepreneur in the world at the Global Champion of the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards.
Technology giant Google has previously named one of the 12 brightest talents globally.
A prominent publication has recognised Marishane as one of the “Top 30 under 30 people that are changing the world.”He remains humble.
“On the gravel roads of Limpopo, with an allowance of R50 (more than US$3) a week, I came up with a way for the world not to bath, what’s stopping you,” he chuckled.
The lead-up to the invention was arduous, especially a 40-page cellphone-typed business plan.
Marishane urged his peers to strive towards dreams that would make an impact on the development of their society and not let frustrations stop them from attaining success.
To this day, he is amused by the irony of his invention that has marvelled millions of people around the world.
“What puzzles me is that I did all of this just because I did not want to bath,” he said jokingly.
The department of water and sanitation, although not aware of such an invention, is pleasantly appeased by DryBath.
The government department said in general it welcomed and encouraged innovators to complement efforts to ease the water and sanitation crisis in the country.
“All inventions that assist to provide for increased water and sanitation supply is most welcome,” said Sputnik Ratau, department spokesperson, said.
– CAJ News