Ludwick Marishane’s company is called Headboy Industries and the name makes perfect sense when you consider the notches on this over-achieving 23-year-old’s belt before the quarter century mark of his life.

Marishane threw out the bath water at 17 (South Africa’s youngest ever patent-filer) when he invented the DryBath – a bath-substituting gel that you apply to your skin and rub vigorously to remove dirt with. Bathing without water… it’s a brilliant invention, especially for communities where bucket-bathing is the norm and where water is scarce. DryBath’s received interest from the US Army and Navy and is already being used by charities that deal with humanitarian disaster like tsunamis.

Stop for a second and consider this… What had you done at 17 apart from set records for PS3, sleeping in and masturbating?

But wait, there’s more. With the success of DryBath Marishane, who holds a Bachelor in Science from the University of Cape Town with Finance and Accounting majors, was rated as the best student entrepreneur in the world in 2011 and voted as one of the 12 brightest young minds in the world by Google the same year. That’s right, Google, the coven of brainiacs, voted him in as a noteable brainiac among the planet’s budding brainiacs. That’s some serious brainy going on right there.

Rounding off his head boy status, the man is already giving back by working with the Technology Innovation Agency to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, hopefully spawning more head boy types like him.

#BestAdvice: Embrace failure
“My advice is start early, fail often, but fail and learn fast. Too many young people are told to wait for the right time, and they never start because life just brings more baggage and responsibility as they grow older. I tried six other ideas, before DryBath, that bombed; but DryBath wouldn’t have made so much progress if I hadn’t started with those six failures. Develop a culture of learning through trial and error, because that’s all it truly takes to get started.”

Check out Ludwick’s CNN interview on how to keep clean with DryBath.

*By Tudor Caradoc-Davies