Time magazine has named this South African invention one of its top 50 'genius' products

Business Insider SA
Courtesy Wonderbag.
  • The South African Wonderbag has been listed as one of Time magazine’s Top 50 genius products.
  • The product functions like a slow-cooker - cooking food for up to 12 hours. 
  • The Wonderbag shares the limelight with the massive gaming phenomenon Fortnite and Airbnb, which were also included on the Time list.   

A South African invention has just been listed as one of Time magazine’s Top 50 genius products.

It's called the Wonderbag and it's a heavily insulated container that allows you to slow-cook food without using electricity. 

The bags not only look beautiful but they offer a simple innovation to many lower-income African families who struggle to afford electricity.  They're affordable too, at R380.00 for a standard size Wonderbag. 

After boiling a pot of food over a stove or fire, it is then put into the Wonderbag, which retains heat for up to 12 hours, so the meal can continue to cook without the use of power, throughout the day.  

 “People often think technology start-ups only come out of Silicon Valley,” said Wonderbag founder Sarah Collins, in an interview with Time. “But I’m a tech start-up too.”

The Wonderbag features on the Time list among some of the forerunners of tech innovation, including Airbnb, drone company DJI, and Fortnite developers Epic Games.  

Most of the bags are manufactured at the Wonderbag factory in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal. They are exported worldwide.

Just ten years ago, Collin’s was manufacturing a handful of bags a week. Now there are 1.5 million across the globe. 

The idea came to Collins a decade ago, while she was working in a community project in KwaZulu-Natal. She saw many households struggling with heating food amid the Eskom power crisis.

"In April 2008 I woke up at 2am in the morning and remembered my grandmother taking a pot of porridge off the stove and into some cushions to retain the heat... It all came back to me and I realised this was technology that could change the world," she said. 

Watch the video below:

Customised Wonderbags were also presented to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, in the UK, as a wedding gift from the Wonderbag team and the Lesotho royal family.

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