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Art and Culture, Book Reviews, Literature

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – A Book Review

AUTHORS: William KamkwambaBryan Mealer

HarperCollins, (2009) – 320 pages

‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.’

Now a Netflix Film, Starring and Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave

I recently watched the movie on Netflix and I must admit I was blown away when I realised that it is actually a true story. Just the mere fact that we do have innovative inventors even here in Africa is incredible.

13 year-old William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic was the order of the day and modern science was a mystery. It was also a land withered by severe drought and hunger. William’s parents could not pay his school fees, so he was expelled from school. He would sneak out of the farm into the school library to research on windmills. Naturally, he loved science and was quite an inquisitive young boy. His dream was to build one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbours called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dream. He was a school dropout who got together a few friends, gathered a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and armoured with curiosity and determination to achieve the impossible.


If you can’t get hold of the book, watch the movie on Netflix. It is absolutely inspiring and heartwarming. I recommend the movie to anyone especially those who need a bit of motivation.

William Kamkwamba (Maxwell Simba) and his father Trywell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the bike that will prove important later on in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Photo: Netflix

About Constance van Niekerk

Constance van Niekerk, (Connie V) is a creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.


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