The motorised bicycles carrying a community to opportunity
When Nkosana Madi investigates a contraption, be it a simple tool or more advanced technology, he doesn’t see it for what it is, but for what it could be. Take his family’s old cassette player, for example. The Madis purchased it for its classic use – playing back music from tapes – but by the time their son was through with it, they had a home radio.
That was when Madi was a boy. In the time that he’s matured since, his ambitions have grown up too. Setting his inventor’s mind to the task of contributing to his community in KwaThema, Madi has developed a motorised bicycle. Though free-wheeling fun would have been a worthy goal in itself, his innovation serves a more practical function by making the commute to work that many locals endure on foot far more manageable.
Attached to ordinary bicycle frames, Madi’s motors are based on a simple engine design, such as those used to build lawnmowers. The result is effective. But like any entrepreneur, the young man from Ekurhuleni couldn’t hope to make his venture financially viable without support. Fortunately for him, the Department of Science and Technology is backing his brilliance. We need to invest in young minds if we’re to see more out-the-box thinkers achieve success and drive South African industry.