Limpopo teen invents alert device for GBV, human trafficking victims

Bohlale Mphahlele showcased her invention at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. (Photo source: Twitter)
Bohlale Mphahlele showcased her invention at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. (Photo source: Twitter)

Sixteen-year-old Bohlale Mphahlele has developed a prototype for a device that she hopes will help curb gender-based violence (GBV) and human trafficking in SA.

Mphahlele is a learner from SJ van der Merwe Technical High School in Limpopo.

Dubbed the “Alerting Earpiece”, the device, which can be worn like an earring, captures photos of perpetrators and sends an alert to devices it has been paired with.

Mphahlele’s invention comes amid a spike in GBV-related offences and femicide in the country, with incidents of human trafficking also making the news.

According to the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, SA has one of the highest rates of violence against women on the entire continent, with a rate five times the global average. One in four women will experience violence by men, and women are five times more likely to be killed.

Discovering that SA has some of the highest crime rates, including violence against women, sparked the idea to create the device, said Mphahlele in an interview with Power FM.

“The alerting earpiece is an invention that aims to eradicate the chances of gender-based violence, human trafficking and other challenges that we face on a day-to-day basis in regards to crime.

“It helps alert officials when victims face danger. It finds the exact location and tracks the movement of the victim.”

Explaining how it takes photographs, she said victims can press a small button on the earpiece to activate the camera that will capture the face of the perpetrator. The images can be sent to connected devices as well as law enforcement organisations.

The young inventor is looking for financial support to bring the solution to life.

Mphahlele’s device was showcased at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists in the engineering-electronics and embedded systems category, where she took home the bronze medal.

Limpopo education MEC Polly Boshielo has commended Mphahlele for her innovation.

Boshielo noted the past few weeks have been difficult on the provincial education sector, as the province has been experiencing the tormenting pain of gender-based violence on learners.

“It is a difficult thing to go through as a mother and a leader. We are always looking for answers and ways to protect our children, and this invention by our learner gives me hope that we shall overcome.

“I am a firm believer in technology and its capacity to address some of the challenges we encounter. It is a proud moment to see that all our efforts towards improving technical schools in the province are yielding results.”

The MEC also expressed her appreciation to Mphahlele’s peers and a team of educators rallying behind her in this technological endeavour.

See also