Themba Mthembu (42) is proof that no number of challenges can stand in the way of dreams. It was Mthembu’s dream to work as a mechanical engineer, but poor health forced him to drop out of school in Grade 10.
For over 12 years – Mthembu, from Ingwavuma location, north of KwaZulu-Natal, – stayed at home and kept busy by working as a light motor vehicle mechanic.
What his community did not know was that while he was fixing cars, he was also working on an invention. He recently surprised his community when he unveiled a unique engine that doesn’t use petrol or diesel to operate. The engine needs only a battery and it can connect up to eight light globes, a fridge and a TV.
Mthembu told Vuk’uzenzele that the idea to invent the engine came in 2013 while the country was experiencing load shedding.
“I collected all the material from the scrap yard. It took me two years to complete all the work.
I am so happy to see that all these years were not a waste as the engine now works.
I am now ready to invent a car that doesn’t use petrol or diesel,” he said.
Mthembu’s engine has six electrical wires that connect to a power button and once it’s on, it sounds similar to a grinder.
He said if he had the proper resources in place, including financial backing, it would have taken him a less time to finish one engine.
“In fact, it could take me even less time because with the right resources, I could teach two young people to help me,” he said.
Scrap yard owner Bheki Gumede said when Mthembu approached him for parts to make an engine he did not take him seriously.
“Now, however, I respect him so much for his work. I never thought someone from a rural area like Ingwavuma could do such a thing. We are gifted differently and his gift is really amazing. I have no doubt that he will go far if he keeps on pushing. I wish him all the best,” he said.