This Zambian inventor and farmer, in his forties, has built his own mini-hydroelectric dam on his property with the only technical knowledge acquired through high school physics courses in which he excelled.
To build his hydro-electric dam, Charles Mubanga first had to divert water from waterfalls located on his property in order to clear a path to another waterfall. The force of water activates turbines that generate electricity through a generator.
The generator is one of the most important components of the plant and had cost about 42 million kwacha ($9,000). As for the turbines, they were made from an old tractor rim and scrap metal recovery. Charles Mubanga had to get up every morning at 4 o'clock for over a year to work on his project.
Initially, the mini-hydroelectric dam aroused hostility from neighbors and threats from the national electric company: ZESCO. After his work was appreciated and recognized in 2007 by former Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, many farmers asked Charles Mubanga to electrify their houses.
Charles Mubanga also claims he's invented a mobile hydro-electric unit. This invention was apparently exhibited at a Local Agricultural Fair and should cost about $4,000. Although Charles Mubanga patented his invention, he lacks the necessary funds to proceed to the semi-industrial manufacturing stage. According to him, there would be enough water in the district of Mporokoso to conduct a rural electrification project.
Charles Mubanga Mumba is not only known in Mporokoso for having manufactured his mini-hydroelectric dam. His talents are also sought for the repair of cars, computers and ultrasound appliances at the hospital of the Mporokoso District.
In a nutshell, Charles Mubanga shows, once again, that Africans are capable of providing solutions to electrification problems, especially in rural areas not connected to the national grid; hence the importance of valuing African researchers and inventors.