The mirror of life might have cracked under the Covid-19 storm but that should never be a curse. Inspiration can clearly be mutual. Maxwell Chikumbutso, a Zimbabwean-born innovator based in the United States, has given African inventors a reason to rise above obscurity by turning hope into expectation.
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By Farai Diza - Freelance Journalist
Maxwell Chikumbutso has developed a prototype automated disinfecting machine to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The prototype machine is a real gem during these trying times as the world battles against a microscopic enemy that’s on the rampage.
Chikumbutso, a serial inventor of note, stated that the automated machine was inspired by the realisation that countries were struggling to disinfect public places.
“I watched how the Chinese and other nations around the world were responding to the Covid-19 pandemic by disinfecting residential buildings, cars, public places, buses as well as streets.
"I then took the initiative and it took me three days to come up with a working prototype 'Automated Disinfecting Machine'. I have successfully tested it using different chemicals advised by the World Health Organization,” he told Briefly.co.za in an exclusive interview.
Many states are facing challenges to carry out mass-scale disinfection as governments pull up a gear to control the escalating coronavirus infections in public spaces
Despite having dropped out of school in Form 2 (SA’s equivalent of Grade 9), Chikumbutso is well famed for inventing the world’s first-ever green-powered generator that can produce electricity using radio frequencies.
He has also built an electric-powered vehicle and hybrid helicopter which uses six different types of fuel.
“African governments need help in whatever way possible (to flatten the coronavirus pandemic curve). We can help fight this virus if we remain positive,” he said.
After breaking the internet with his latest innovation, Chikumbutso has received unexpected phone calls from heads of states and international business people who believe his masterpiece can help combat the spread of Covid-19 on a mass scale.
“I did not sleep at all. I was continuously receiving calls, emails and chats from all over the world. I received three important calls from presidents of countries as well as seven from prominent business people from abroad.
"Everyone who calls wants us to meet and discuss business as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. In the midst of everything I remain humble,” he alluded.
Maxwell excels despite growing up without a dad and dropping out of school
It is worth noting that the serial inventor, born in 1980, was raised by a single parent after his father walked out on the family. His education was funded by the Social Welfare before life’s hardships forced him to drop out of school.
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He aspired to become a mechanic until he received a scripture while praying on a mountain, Isaiah 46. He began receiving spiritual visions and visible blueprints even though he knew absolutely nothing about electronics.
His first successful project came through in 1999 when he built a radio broadcast transmitter. He went on to develop a digital navigation facilitator which is used to facilitate the landing of aircraft from variables that include aircraft size, its altitude position and speed.
He went on to craft many other self-funded inventions with money he received from his job as a haulage truck driver.
His fortunes changed when he met Angolan born pastor and businessman, Dr Teddy De Almeida, in Johannesburg. He bought into Chikumbutso’s vision and contributed seed money desiring nothing for his investment. No documents were signed, just a stern warning to use the money wisely.
During a recent private visit to his native nation, he met and engaged with Zimbabwean president Emerson Mnangagwa. The two spoke about how Chikumbutso could help the nation in terms of power generation and the sharing of his innovative skills.
Zimbabwe is currently going through turbulent waves of social and economical challenges causing a mass exodus of skilled personnel leaving the country. This massive brain drain has negatively impacted economic reform programmes.
In 2018, the US government granted Chikumbutso a new home in the populous California state, all thanks to his genius inventions.
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