The untrained boy who created currents of electricity and hope in rural parts of Kasungu leads a trio of talented Malawians on the continentâ€™s young achievers list unveiled on Monday.
William Kamkwamba, the 24-year-old windmill maker whose epic innovation is chronicled in the widely acclaimed semi-autobiography The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, was named alongside rapper Tay Grin and 10 Plusten Links Entertainment Agency vice-chairperson Thembi Thadzi on Top 35 Under 35 Young African Leaders in International Affairs.
Organised by the Young People in International Affairs (YPIA), the bi-annual awards go to 35 Africans aged below 35 who are making an impact “in their respective countries, on the continent and in the wider world.”
According to YPIA website, Kamkwamba gets to the top again for lighting Masitala Village, T/A Wimbe, Kasungu with a windmill made of bicycle parts whereas Thadzi, who co-organised Miss Warm Heart of Africa last year, is recognised for her work in promoting Malawi youth rights.
The citation shows the accolade conferred on Tay Grin comes in recognition of his footprints in the telecommunication industryâ€”Phone Yanu and G-Mobile Phone Company â€”as well as the contribution of his Black Rhyno Label to the entertainment industry.
The Two by Two rapper’s label has hosted various international artists, including Zimbabwe’s Buffalo Souljah, Jamaica’s Brick and Lace as well as Nigerian compatriots Naeto C and Ice Prince.
Â “This award puts the winners on the international spot and I am happy. It makes us be more productive while at the same time helping you learn from what other African youths are doing,” said the artist in an interview on Tuesday.
Before drawing the list, YPIA put out a worldwide call for nominations for young Africans who are excelling in their respective area of expertise.
Kamkwamba, 24, gained fame when, in 2002, he built a the windmill from scrap. Since then, he has built a solar-powered pump that supplies the first drinking water in his village and two other windmills. His brainpower was exposed by the biography he co-authored with US journalist Barry Mealer in 2009 book.
Thadzi is a winner of the Commonwealth Youth Initiative Award and the National Youth Council’s Youth Development Award.