This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind demonstrates African ingeniousness

Graham F. Scott

Further to Siena Anstis’s post last week about technology startups that are changing the landscape of African development, Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing has reviewed The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind today for Good Magazine. Above, I’ve embedded a short film from YouTube about the subject of that book, William Kamkwamba, the 20-year-old Malawian man who—with no formal training beyond what he taught himself out of library books—designed and built his own windmill as a teenager to provide electricity for his village.

It’s one more story of hardscrabble, can-do ingenuity, the kind of story that comes so often from a continent where necessity really still is the mother of invention (in a way that is seldom true anymore in the wealthy West). Without wanting to romanticize the incredibly tough conditions under which Kamkwamba worked, it’s heartening to see the hunt for “Africa’s Einstein” continues.

Show Comments