This is the story of Colrerd Nkosi, a young man from Malawi who single handedly brought electricity to his village for the first time, basically free-of-charge for the residents. Yobe Nkosi is a remote village located in northern Malawi where Mr. Nkosi grew up. Gift Mfune, a student told France 24 that in their village before Mr. Nkosi’s work “[students] had to study by candlelight and whenever there was no money to buy candles, [they] could not study.”
Mr. Nkosi had completed secondary school in his home country in Mzimba, a town about 25 miles away from his village which utilized electricity. When he came back to his village he decided to try to endow his community with power as well. At 23 years old Mr. Nkosi was already pushing the boundaries of trying to solve the issue of lack of electricity in his village. He placed his bicycle in a rapid moving stream near his house, observing how the force of the current moved the pedals along. That experiment was the catalyst to how Mr. Nkosi brought power to his village.
His first successful attempt at generating electricity was with an old refrigerator compressor that powered 6 homes. It was so popular in his village that he continued to develop methods until he got to his hydroelectric turbine, utilizing a repurposed corn-shelling machine that can potentially power 1,000 homes. Mr. Nkosi does not charge the villagers for the power but the users do give him around $1.00 per household for maintenance every month. Still, most of the repair costs have been funded out of his own pocket.
Mr. Nkosi is working to expand the grid of his machinery, hopefully lighting up more villages and schools. He has other interests including combating deforestation, teaching carpentry lessons and engineering to the children in the village. Mr. Nkosi hopes to find sponsors to take his passion to a higher level.
Malawi Inventor Lights Up His Whole Village Basically for Free Starting With a Bicycle and a River