During hard times, people think of seemingly complicated ideas. What sets some people apart is that they choose not to sit back and wait for the next day without any hope. There are people who with the little resources, try hard to figure out the solutions needed for the betterment of our continent.
Among those who have chosen not to sit back but have actively responded to Africa’s problems, is William Kamkwamba. At a young age, he devised a system for transforming the wind into electricity and ended up providing electricity for his community.
William Kamkwamba is a Malawian citizen who was born in the Malawian village of Wimbi, on August 5th, 1987. He grew up on his father’s farm in his village. Malawi is a drought-stricken country where famine is a constant problem. In 2001, Malawi was hit by a severe famine which led many people to go without food. Many people died of hunger, but many remained hopeless and waited for their turn to die.
People turned to eating every green leaf that was determined as not being poisonous. There are also stories of people who died walking looking for what to eat and those that died while cooking food.William went to Wimbe primary school, where he studied until his completion of primary school. Later, he went to Kochokolo secondary school. When drought and famine hit Malawi, William dropped out of school, however, this did not diminish his passion for education.
Kamkwamba grew up from a very poor home. This, however, didn’t hinder him from reaching his goal. He had a passion for engineering. William repaired radios for his friends but he realized he was not making enough money to support his family. He decided to visit his community library which was located near his school after feeding on only corn. William borrowed and read books about energy.
At the age of fourteen years, William invented a windmill using scraps and parts of a bicycle. His neighbors called him a crazy boy and all other sorts of funny names but he was determined to create electricity and water for his family which is a basic need for every community.
Overtime, William’s reputation started spreading starting right from his village to the rest of the world. He utilized the few wasted resources to create running water and electricity for his village. People started to come to charge their phones. The once crazy boy was now meaningful to his family and Malawi.William became a source of inspiration for many people. From his story, we can learn to always try to unleash our ideas using the limited resources that we have at our disposal. He inspires us to always aim at getting what we want despite discouragement from different individuals in our societies. Always try and fail but never fail to try. Many people in Africa are scared of failing and that is why many of them die with great ideas in their brains.
William Kamkwamba went back to school after getting a scholarship from doctor Mchazime who did fundraising for Williams tuition. He went to Madisi secondary school and later to Dartmouth college, in New Hampshire.
When you read the book “the boy who harnessed the wind”, surely I tell you that you gain momentum to also harness the knowledge and wisdom in your brains. Kamkwamba worked hard to change Malawi, so should everyone do.
Finally, to all young Africans who intend to do things that can change Africa. This is your time to put your ideas into practice. Those who think of inventing like Kamkwamba, go ahead because Africa is a blessed continent characterized with the best weather and loving people. If we all struggle to solve Africa’s challenges, then no doubt that our continent will never be called dark.