William and the Windmill

The boy who harnessed the wind

William Kamkwamba was born in 1987, in Malawi, Africa. Like most people in his village, his family of nine subsisted on the crops they could grow, living without the luxuries of electricity or running water. In 2002, Malawi experienced the worst famine in 50 years. At that moment, 14-year-old William was forced to drop out of school because his family could not afford the tuition.

Though he was not in a classroom, William continued to think, learn—and dream. Armed with curiosity, determination and a library book he discovered in a nearby library, he embarked on a daring plan—to build a windmill that could bring his family the electricity only two percent of Malawians could afford. His project attracts local media attention and soon enough William embarks on a previously unimaginable journey of TEDtalks, Ivy League schools, and speaking tours. Away at school, the famous boy inventor struggles on a steep learning curve.

"William and the Windmill" captures the dramatic upheavals, external pressures, and subtle shifts of perspective in this inspiring story of a young man facing the changes that a humble homemade windmill set in motion.

"William and the Windmill“ is a moving development story of human potential.

Director(s): Ben Nabors
Production: Ben Nabors, Nathan Allen, Group Theory
Music: Saunder Jurriaans, Danny Bensi
Actors: William Kamkwamba, Tom Rielly, Emeka Okafor
Year: 2013
Duration: 88 min
Our age recommendation: 14
Language (audio): English
Country of origin: South Africa, United States, Malawi
Shooting Locations: South Africa, United States, Malawi
Screening rights: Journeyman Pictures ()

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Further reviews


Main topic(s): Human Potential
Secondary topics: africa do it yourself renewables courage cooperation
Mentions: windmill Malawi renewable energy poverty famine education TedTalks moving windmills entrepreneurship self-determination self-taught success hope
Topic Page(s): Human Potential

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