William Kamkwamba, the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

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William Kamkwamba, the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, his story is both fascinating and motivating.  He is a Malawian boy who harnessed the wind when he was just a teenager. I first learnt about the amazing young innovator back then when I was in secondary school. It was our physics teacher who broke the news about the young genius when his invention story of the wind mill made news in the local media. Ten years letter I am reading William Kamkwamba biography the “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Creating Currents of Electricity” and Hope”. Wow! I love it.

Who is William Kamkwamba?

William Kamkwamba is an innovator, engineer and author book. He was born in Dowa district in the central region in Malawi. The name “Kamkwamba” means a piece of fabric in his vernacular Chichewa language.

William kamkwamba

William Kamkwamba grow up in Masitala Village T/A Wimbe in Kasungu together with his family. He is the second born in the family of Mr Trywell Kamkwamba and Agnes Kamkwamba.

What did William Kamkwamba do?

He built a built an electricity generating wind mill from scratch. By only using metal scraps, bicycle parts, PVC pipes and blue gum trees he managed to build a wind turbine that powered his family house.

His first wind mill was five meters high from the ground.  Later own he increased the highest of his power generating turbines to 12 meter above the ground to increase power output.

William also built the solar water pump in his area. It is the first water pump in that area which people use to draw drinking water from the ground.

While building his first inventions he narrates that people mocked at him. They though he was mad. But then he points out that self-belief is key to his success.  After the machines worked for him people around the village were impressed. And gradually news about his works began to spread.

How old was William when he built the wind mill?

William Kamkwamba was born on 5 August 1987. He built his first wind mill when he was 14 years old. He learned the knowledge on building wind mills through self-education.

William inspiration to build windmills was from the book he read in the library. His dream was to build a large windmill for irrigation for his entire village and go back to school. Thanks to members of the TED community who supported him to achieve both his dreams.

William Kamkwamba Education

Kamkwamba went to Wimbe Primary School before being selected to Kachokolo secondary school. While in his first term he dropped out of school because his parents were unable to pay school fees for him.

After he dropped from school he started to going to the library read books at Wimbe Teachers Development Centre (TDC). This is where he comes across a book Using Energy. The knowledge from the book inspired William to build the wind mills by trial and error.

When the wind mill success story was published on a Malawian blog the news spread about William spread globally. Emeka Okafa from TEDglobal once heard the news traced William and invited him to be a guest speaker at a TED conference.  It is at the conference where William attracted the interest of some Venture capitalists who sponsored his tertiary education and his projects.

He studied at African Bible College. He was also offered a scholarship at African Leadership Academy before moving to Dartmoutn College, USA in 2010. At Dartmouth he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Movie

Starting from 2007 William has been invited at several different events across the global. He has shared his story and inspired many people. “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind movie is under production. The film is based on William Kamkwamba story shared in his book with the same time.

William Kamkwamba story is documented in his auto biography “The Boy Who Harnessed the wind” you can buy it here from Amazon.



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