'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind': The true story of William Kamkwamba which inspired the Netflix film

The film is based on the true story of a 14-year-old boy in Malawi, who built a wind turbine using scrap parts to help his family and the village battle famine


                            'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind': The true story of William Kamkwamba which inspired the Netflix film

Upcoming Netflix movie 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' is already creating quite a buzz, especially the true story of a Malawi boy who saved his village and family from famine by building a wind turbine on which it is based on.

The Netflix film was written and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who also stars in a pivotal role.

William Kamkwamba rose to fame in 2006 when local reporters wrote about his makeshift wind turbine made using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves.

The fact that the then 14-year-old school drop out built a wind turbine in 2002 spread through the blogosphere, and soon global publications like the Wall Street Journal were writing about William and his windmill.

The crude but operable windmill eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that helped William's family endure the drought and famine that loomed with every season in the country.

His achievement was recognized and he was invited to speak at a global TEDx event in 2007 at Arusha, Tanzania. He moved the audience with his speech, and many came forward to finance his secondary education and also promised to help him build a bigger windmill. 

A still from The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind starring Maxwell Simba in lead role. (Source: Netflix)
A still from The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind starring Maxwell Simba in lead role. (Source: Netflix)

 

William built his first wind turbine after finding the rough plans of the same in the book 'Using Energy' at the local library. He used spare parts that he found in the scrapyard and ended up providing power for his house. He also made some changes to the rough sketch, he said at the TED talk.

Willaim confessed how he wanted to build a wind turbine big enough to help his village with agriculture. He was 19-years-old when he spoke at the TEDx. 



 

 

Since then, he has built two more wind turbines, the tallest one being 32 feet and is also planning to build two more in Lilongwe, the political capital of Malawi.

William graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire in 2014. He has also written an autobiography titled 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind', which was published in 2009.

In the book, he goes into details about how he had to drop out of school because of a famine. While he was still in college, William was featured in TIME's '30 people under 30 changing the World' list in 2013.

He has also been a part of projects that would help people in his country get access to clean water, prevent malaria, and more. He also worked on projects that aimed to stop gender-based violence in Kenya.

Currently, William is working on multiple projects, and to which anyone can donate to on his website. It ranges from providing water pumps for irrigation, a laboratory for developing farm tools and secondary school scholarships. A documentary based on him titled 'William and the Windmill' has been released as well.

Angelina Jolie hosted the special screening of Netflix film, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, based on William Kamkwamba (left) starring Maxwell Simba (right). (Source: Getty Images).
Angelina Jolie hosted the special screening of Netflix film, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, based on William Kamkwamba (left) starring Maxwell Simba (right). (Source: Getty Images).

 

Maxwell Simba plays the role of William in the film. Joseph Marcell, Aissa Maiga, Noma Dumezweni are also a part of the cast. Angelina Jolie recently hosted the screening of the film in New York.

It will have a limited theatrical global release on March 1, before being made available on Netflix.