For the past few weeks, the media, especially social media networks, have been flooded by news of the mind-boggling inventions of Maxwell Sangulani Chikumbutso, a native of Zimbabwe, who invented several environmentally friendly machines that represent a genuine revolution. The tragedy which was added to this good news is that the inventor was, allegedly, poisoned because of the world-changing nature of his discoveries. Although nobody has been pointed out as the culprit, two reasons could explain the attack on Maxwell’s life, when one speculates. First, an African is not supposed to be the inventor of such items that are of high importance and connote real intelligence. Secondly, his inventions would take many giants in the area of energy, oil, etc. off the market.
The 43-year-old Zimbabwean inventor and innovator is best known for developing a green power generator which can produce electricity using radio frequency. His activities are generally referred to as “wireless energy transmission innovation” which includes a long line of inventions: hybrid engine powered helicopter, an electric car, a magnetic converter, a green power generator and a drone, which are products of the company he founded and named “Saith Technologies”. This gifted innovator dropped out of school, Dzivarasekwa 2 High School in Harare, Zimbabwe when in form 2, and he was then aged between 13 and 14. The self-taught scientist therefore made ground-breaking moves to enter the highly competitive aviation and hi-tech global entrepreneurial ecosystem. With all these inventions, he clinched huge deals for his products in various parts of the world – his magnetic converters, green power generators, drones and automated disinfecting machine (to help fight the coronavirus pandemic) are in high demand. He adds that he worked on that machine after watching how much difficulty countries experienced in disinfecting public places, during the pandemic.
Chikumbutso’s main ambition is to combine scientific invention and top-notch business. The Saith Technologies, that started modestly, has the potential to grow into a billion-dollar company that supplies electric cars, helicopters, telecoms solutions, security and surveillance, UAVs, traffic safety and lighting products as well as MSED Powered (a self-powered device) home lights using wireless energy transmission. One factor that makes these discoveries unique is that most of them are based on rudimentary materials, gathered from Harare’s popular Siyato Market. Chikumbutso turns such basic stuff into highly-engineered materials and he is said to have been “snatched” by the US because of his talents in 2017, a fact that he recounts in these terms: “the US government saw what Africa did not”, then he adds “I always love Africa and I’m so proud of being born and raised in Africa. I will surely come back to Zimbabwe where everything started”. Part of his suffering stems from the fact that he did not get encouragement and validation from his own people, when he needed that.
Chikumbutso’s discoveries are the culmination of work that started in 2003. He attracted international attention, due to his innovations and currently resides in California, where he pursues his scientific and engineering activities, shuffling between the US and his native country. It is said that California provides him with a conducive environment where he collaborates with entrepreneurs, political leaders, researchers and investors. His use of free energy in his inventions violates the laws of thermodynamics and according to him, that has made it difficult to have his “stuff” patented worldwide and his Saith Technologies is going to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He openly states that he and his team have made history.
Sadly, in May 2021, Maxwell’s company announced that the inventor experienced the third attack on his life and they issued a statement on Facebook, soliciting prayers for the genius, who, according to them, was fighting to regain his health after he had been poisoned. The company keeps a certain degree of secrecy around the scientist’ life and did not disclose the dates of the first two attacks to Maxwell’s life, as this statement from the company shows: “The battle that we are involved in is real but we relentlessly keep on fighting. There is information out there that were never sent out or shared but there are some horrible people who are always working trying to destroy us. Our detractors would even want us dead because of their opposition to the technology that we have brought to world as well as the life changing prospect of ‘Free Energy’”. They add that the company received threats that range from death, financial and personal ruin through emails, Facebook Messenger and other social media platforms. One of his mentors and business advisors said in April 2022 that there had been several attempts on Maxwell’s life and that of his family from unknown people who are opposed to his wireless energy transmission inventions.
His latest invention is the self-powered television, which is really “all in one”. It works without electricity or solar panel; it just has a device that converts radio frequencies into pure energy. Maxwell Chikumbutso is suddenly in the news these days because many of his admirers and followers trust him to such an extent that they that to them, he can meaningfully contribute to the edification of a better world in 2023. Such positions make sense since every progress now evolves around green energy.
Maxwell Chikumbutso’s life, work and difficulties make me think once more about the legendary mistake that Africa has been making, by ignoring or sometimes, fighting skilled persons on the continent. One of the ideal things could have been to make efforts that value, encourage and apply the works of these geniuses, who could be gathered into a “special pool”. Such a measure could facilitate the achievement of important targets like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and many more. More and more African geniuses are acknowledged and celebrated by the West: Germany-based Burkinabè architect Diébédo Francis Kéré won the Pritzker Architecture Prize ( Architecture’s Nobel); Nigerian Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize in Literature years ago, physician Denis Mukwege from the DRC (Congo) recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for his staunch commitment to the treatment of female war victims and Malian astrophysicist Cheick Modibo Diarra is one of the first Africans who worked for NASA. Many of these extremely talented Africans are not in the limelight but their work can improve living conditions on the continent. It would first require an acceptance of these people in Africa and granting the necessary attention and importance to their works. Such a move would certainly avoid their migration and search for more favourable environments for their work. That migration potentially exposes them to tragedies like the type that befell Maxwell Chikumbutso. The mention of his case in the press is a real a wake-up call for concerned Africans.
Moussa Traoré is Associate Professor at the Department of English of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.