My call to “Close the Incubators and Accelerators, and Open FabLabs and MakerSpaces instead” is based on my deep belief that in the current stage of its development “Africa needs more people with the skills to fabricate something than additional people with oratory prowess.”
In that regard, a story is now trending all over the African tech websites and blogosphere. It’s the story of a 13 years old Kenyan boy, Richard Turere, who has build a ingenious flashlight to scare off lions and protect his father cattle, with “no books or access to technical information, but plenty of electric shocks.”
The stories goes like this:
“Richard Turere lives in on the edge of the Nairobi National Park, just south of the City of Nairobi. He is responsible for herding his family the livestock and keeping them safe from predators, especially lions. Being so close the park puts this family’s cattle right in the path of lions and every month they lost cows, sheep and goats. Nairobi Park has the worlds highest density of lions, and they often predate on livestock which are easier to catch.
At the age of 11 Richard decided to do something about his family’s losses. He observed that the lions never struck the homesteads when someone was awake and walking around with a flashlight. Lions are naturally afraid of people. He concluded that lions equate torches with people so he took the led bulbs from broken flashlights and rigged up an automated lighting system of four or five torch bulbs around the cattle stockade. The bulbs are wired to a box with switches, and to an old car battery charged with a solar panel that operates the family Television set. The lights don’t point towards the cattle, or on any property, but outwards into the darkness. They flash in sequence giving the impression that someone is walking around the stockade.” wrote Afrigadget.com
You have to read the full story at Afrigadget.com, because as they wrote “What is extraordinary about this story is that Richard has had no books or access to technical information. He says he does not know where he gets the ideas or the knowledge, and yes, he has given him self plenty of electric shocks. His father James is proud of his son, and has given him space to tinker and collect bits of gadgetry.”
“I did it myself, no one taught me, I just came up with it. I had to look after my dad’s cows and make sure that they were safe,” Turere said.
“Makers” brings change while “Pitchers” entertains. We need to Open FabLabs and MakerSpaces.