The Future We Won't Accept

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and HopeWilliam Kamkwamba is the boy [now 27] who toyed with the wind. A 2013 TFAAS nominee, a Malawian inventor, engineer and author; a farm boy who learned the art of windmill making from a textbook and who went on to build one from scrap materials, trees and bicycle parts to power appliances in his family home, William subsequently built the first windmill powered generator in Malawi which supplies water to his entire village.

William Kakwamba

William Kakwamba

Viva la Resistance! At 14, forced to drop out of school as a result of lack of funds; faced with poverty, famine and a sure death, William was faced with a future he couldn’t accept, one of continuous famine and of hunger, of illiteracy and of strife. William turned to self-education and found he was drawn to science and engineering; after learning about windmills in a textbook, he decided to build one to power his family’s home, many people, including his mother thought he was crazy.

When I was making all these, some people were mocking me that I was going mad but I had confidence in what I was doing because I knew if it was written in the books then it was true and possible. When I succeeded they were impressed.

Intelligence that is tangible is how William’s invention should be classified. This is as opposed to paper intelligence which our society promotes and lauds. We should applaud, promote and encourage our children and youth to get past the perceived societal barriers and or challenges. While sectors such as education suffer greatly in Africa, the obvious can be turned into something which can benefit entire communities and inspire the world. An apparently bleak future presented before William: hunger as a result of famine, no education because no money, William turned his fortune around literally.