• Birth—August 5, 1987
• Where—Malawi, Africa
• Currently—a student in Johannesburg, South Africa
William Kamkwamba is a student at African Leadership Academy, a pan-African high school in Johannesburg, South Africa. A 2007 TED Global Fellow, Kamkwamba has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and his inventions displayed at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He's often invited to tell his story, and in 2008, he delivered an address at the World Economic Forum on Africa. (From the publisher.)
More (on William Kamkwamba)
William Kamkwamba is a Malawian secondary school student and inventor. He gained fame in his country when, in 2001, he built a windmill, to power a few electrical appliances in his family's house in Masitala, using blue gum trees, bicycle parts, and materials collected in a local scrapyard.
Since then, he has built a solar-powered water pump that supplies the first drinking water in his village, and two other windmills (the tallest standing at 39 feet) and is planning two more, including one in Lilongwe. After leaving school due to his family inability to afford the tuition, he took up self-education by going to his village's library. There, he found the book Using Energy and in it discovered a picture and explanation of windmills.
His story, told in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, was written with journalist Bryan Mealer and published in 2009. Kamkwamba took part in the first event celebrating his particular type of ingenuity, called Maker Faire Africa, in Ghana in August 2009.
When the Daily Times newspaper in Blantyre wrote a story on Kamkwamba's windmills in November 2006, the story circulated through the blogosphere, and TED conference director Emeka Okafor invited Kamkwamba to speak at TED Global 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania, as a guest. His speech moved the audience, and several venture capitalists at the conference pledged to help finance his secondary education. His story was covered by Sarah Childress for the Wall Street Journal. He became a student at African Bible College Christian Academy in Lilongwe, but is now on a scholarship at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Among other appearances, Kamkwamba was interviewed on The Daily Show on October 7, 2009 and by social news website Reddit. (From Wikipedia.)
Bryan Mealer is the author of All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo, which chronicled his experience covering the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mealer is a former Associated Press staff correspondent and his work has appeared in several magazines, including Harper's and Esquire. (From the publisher.)
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