Last weekend was Maker Faire Africa, a gathering of makersinventors, retoolers, upcyclers, etc.from across the continent that celebrated small-scale innovation and ingenuity, held this year in Nairobi, Kenya. Its the latest reminder of the rising consciousness about African inventors and innovators, heralded by books like The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and websites like Afrigadget.
Photo from Flickr/Maker Faire Africa
Steve Daniels, a 21-year-old designer and IBM researcher, has written about African makers in his new book, Making Do: Innovations in Kenyas Informal Economy. (In keeping with the spirit, the book also has an innovative purchase system: You can pay with a tweet and read it online, or pay for the cost of printing to receive a hard copy.)
An excerpt from the book ran on The Atlantics blog:
... Informal artisans who engage in the production of goods are known as jua kali (Swahili for hot sun) and have established entire ecosystems of production, from scrap sourcing to repair. ...The jua kali provide important lessons for Western economics that compel us to revise our notion of efficiency. ... Indeed, instating these notions of efficiency will be necessary to foster a more sustainable and equitable form of development around the globe.