Trending Topics

What Happened to #Nkosinathi Nkomo? White Engineer Allegedly Steals South African Student’s Invention Months After His Mysterious Death

Questions and concerns were plentiful this past weekend stemming from the recent death of an African inventor whose water saving device gained national attention months before his mysterious demise.

University of Cape Town student Nkosinathi Nkomo died late last year after authorities say he fell from the balcony of a multi-story apartment building. At just 24 years old, Nkomo had created his own water purification system called AqauRenu, a device aimed at relieving South Africa’s drought crisis, The South African reported.

The student’s invention began gaining attention in October, helping him cover his university fees and continue progress on his civil engineering degree. Just two months later, however, Nkomo was mysteriously dead with police offering little details into what had happened. Family and friends remembered him as an extremely smart, determined young man with a dry sense of humor.

Fast forward to February of this year and critics are accusing a white developer of stealing the young man’s idea and taking credit for it. The allegations were sparked over the weekend after local politician Helen Zille tweeted a post promoting industrial designer Retief Krige’s water invention, Waterloo.

Many critics were quick to point out how much the device resembled Nkomo’s and from there, the conspiracy theories flew.

Nkomo’s father has ruled out the possibility of suicide in his son’s death.

“He didn’t owe anyone anything. He had no debts or a bond that he was struggling to pay,” Moses Ndimande told Sowetan Live in December. ” …The truth will come out one day as to what really happened on that fateful day.”

Investigators said no foul play was suspected. Still, many critics beg to differ.

Zille later responded to suspicions that Krige’s invention was in any way linked to Nkomo’s “tragic death,” tweeting, “to suggest it’s connected to another industrial engineer who did not know him is extremely unfair. The 2 systems are very different.”

“If Nkosinathi had invited me to the launch of his product, I would have been there!”

Back to top