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Sad tale of a talented inventor

2017-05-05  Staff Report 2

Sad tale of a talented inventor
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Helvy Shaanika Ongwediva Despite a highly publicised invention, a potential breakthrough in the Namibian telecommunications industry is still collecting dust at a rural-based school. Meanwhile, its inventor has also failed to meet minimum university entry requirements. Last year Simon Petrus, then a Grade 12 student at Abraham Iyambo Senior Secondary School, invented a free call mobile phone, which only needed radio frequencies to work. Abraham Iyambo is based at Oshikunde village, situated between Eenhana and Okongo in the Ohangwena Region. Petrus’ story made waves around the world, and the media published his story worldwide after New Era brought it to light. Even now the international media is still lining up to interview this talented young man, and his next appointment is scheduled for June 5 with journalists from the Netherlands. But sadly, Petrus is just a Namcol student at Okongo, who was unable to register for all his Grade 12 subjects that he needs to upgrade. “I wanted to improve at least four subjects, but I don’t have money and my parents are unemployed. Therefore, this year I could only afford to register for English and Biology. Next year I will come back to Namcol and register for two more subjects and I hope to fulfil university entry requirements by 2019,” the obviously desperate young man said. He says he managed to raise a little money by transporting villagers to town with his uncle’s pick-up during the holidays. With this money, he was able to register for Namcol. However, his uncle has now gone back to Windhoek with his vehicle. Nevertheless, despite these hardships Simon has once more come up with another masterpiece, a free call SIM-less telephone that will also operate wirelessly. This invention will also not require airtime credit, and users can make calls to anyone, anywhere, without interruption, as long as they do so in an area with radio frequency. The difference between the new technology and the first invention is that the telephone will not require a SIM card, and it will not be mobile. “I have already tested it on a smaller machine and it works perfectly. I just need to raise about N$3,000 to buy the necessary parts and microphones. “The problem is that I have no one to help me. I have approached my family to help me raise the money but they don’t understand. I tried several times but they don’t understand. “Right now I need financial and moral support, because I don’t have any form of assistance. I am frustrated and I have no one to advise me but I have not given up on my future. God has given me a talent,” he said. Petrus therefore urges any good Samaritans that can assist him financially or a company that can utilise him to further his skills so that he can realise his innovations in the telecommunication industry to come forward. Last year Petrus’ invention won him medals at national competitions. This is not the only design Petrus has come up with. In 2015, he won a gold medal at the NamPower national schools’ competition for inventing a two-in-one machine that works as a seed drier and cooler. A number of companies and individuals came forward in support of Petrus, and some like MTC promised him a bursary if he makes it to university. His invention created a buzz on social media, with people praising him for his talent. His former school principal, Winter Jeremia, said it was unfortunate that it seemed as though Namibia had no clear market for people like Petrus. “He is not bright when it comes to books, but that boy is a genius when it comes to technological innovation. He is just good. “The situation he is in right now is unfortunate, and something needs to be done before we lose out as a country. We should not allow that kind of talent to go to waste. He is just too good,” Jeremia said.
2017-05-05  Staff Report 2

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