Nkosinathi Nkomo was a South African student engineer who turned up dead after he found a solution to Cape Town’s water crisis. Now a white inventor has shown up with almost the same idea.
Born in Soweto, Nkosinathi was a 25-year-old student of the University of Cape Town who began to gain national attention in October 2017 for his invention of a water purification system called AquaRenu to solve Cape Town’s water crisis.
Nkomo could not afford to finish his civil engineering degree at UCT so he decided to launch AquaRenu and it was starting to generate revenue and pay for all of his college fees.
With such heavy promise and many eyes on him, South Africans were left bewildered when in December, he turned up dead.
The simple, if apparent explanation was that he had fallen from a multi-storey building in Cape Town.
Many pointed to suicide as the cause. But Nkomo’s father claimed that his son could never commit suicide because he had no debts, no enemies. In pain, he said that “the truth would come out one day”.
Conspiracy theorists have had a field day with many interpretations of the events leading up to his passing.
However, things took an unexpected turn when a tweet was posted congratulating a white inventor for an idea similar to Nkomo’s.
In the tweet, Helen Zille congratulated Retief Krige, an industrial designer who created Waterloo, a quick and easy way of using shower water to flush your loo.
Nkomo’s name has begun to trend after South Africans drew connections between Nkomo’s death, the gravity of Cape Town’s water problem and the emergence of this new inventor.
As intimidating as it may seem to think what is being suggested is true, it would not be entirely absurd.
Many times, ideas have been stolen and their owners discarded so the value can pass to another.
Cape Town’s water crisis has made international news in recent weeks. The province is counting down to Day Zero. Despite careful rationing, the city’s water supply is fast running dry.
It is why Nkomo’s invention held many prospects and incited such support.
As it stands now, South Africa owes it to a young man, his family and supporters to find an answer to why he passed and what may have transpired regarding his invention.