20-year-old South African student builds robots from scrap to fend for family

20-year-old Mpho Makutu in the streets of Soweto displaying his robots

20-year-old Mpho Makutu picks scrap metal, wires, and card boxes from Johannesburg’s dumpsites to build remote-controlled cars and battery-powered robots, and cranes. He displays his inventions in the streets of Soweto where tourists pay to see how they work.

The second-year mechanical engineering student uses the about $24 he earns during the weekends to fend for his family of four and pay their rent, reports South African news portal Sunday Times.

The smart young man said he started his inventions from a younger age when he uses anything to build things. He recalled getting a beating for removing parts from his father’s music system.

His most recent invention is a red battery-powered robot that grabs objects and moves them around at the touch of seven different wire levers. It took him two weeks to build the robot from cardboard boxes‚ wires and scrap metal he picked from dumpsites, he told Sunday Times.

Mpho Makutu added that his dream is to become an inventor so that he can employ people and build important machines like a “plastering machine” that can save construction workers from the risk of falling from tall buildings.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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