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Harambee: The Spirit of Innovation in Africa

Mike Bruton
Harambee: The Spirit of Innovation in Africa
ISBN: 978-1-928246-41-1
ISBN: 978-1-928246-52-7
2022/361 pages
Distributed for Best Red, an imprint of HSRC Press
"Bruton write(s) with authority and boundless enthusiasm about African innovation, to explain how it has shaped the continent and how it continues to change the lives of billions…. He pulls together disparate threads from many different perspectives to produce a fascinating compendium."—Alan Duggan, Founding editor of Popular Mechanics (South Africa)


How many inventions come from Africa? How many African countries have produced their own cars? Why is the M-Pesa mobile money system so important? Is the nature of innovation in Africa different from what we find elsewhere? In Harambee ("working together"), Mike Bruton addresses these and related questions as he remarkably discusses more than 800 inventions and innovations by more than 600 innovators from 50 African countries.

From mompreneurs to moguls, waste pickers to fintech wizards, locust whisperers to rocket scientists, Bruton showcases the creativity of the continent’s techpreneurs. The result is an insightful—and intriguing—introduction to the many significant advances in science and technology that have been made on the continent at the low-, medium-, and high-tech levels.


Mike Bruton holds a PhD in ichthyology from Rhodes University. He initially worked as a marine biologist, but over the past two decades he has focused on science center and museum design and development, the psychology of learning, and the history of  science and technology.


  • Foreword—Alan Duggan.
  • Precolonial Inventions.
  • Agriculture, Stock Farming, Apiculture, and Rural Living.
  • Terrestrial Biodiversity Conservation.
  • Fishing, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation.
  • Food and Cooking.
  • Drinks and Beverages.
  • Health and Medicine I: Covid-19.
  • Health and Medicine II: Other Medical, Hygiene, and Grooming Innovations.
  • Sustainable Living.
  • Energy and Alternative Energy.
  • Town Planning and Urban Living.
  • Education and the Youth.
  • Sports, Games, and Recreation.
  • Clothing, Accessories, and Design.
  • Transport and Transport Infrastructure.
  • Trade, Industry, Mining, Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
  • Commerce, E-commerce, and Fintech.
  • Entrepreneurship and the Future of Work.
  • Essay: African Women in Science and Technology.
  • Communications and Telecommunications.
  • Electronics, Computers, and Smartphones.
  • Robots, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Military and Security.
  • Astronomy and Space Science. 
  • Essay: The Future of Technology.
  • General Discussion.