A 16-year-old boy from Agincourt in Mpumalanga is making a name for himself with his built-up toy vehicles made from scrap which operate almost like the real thing.

Run off a cellphone battery, a long-wheel base bakkie (pick-up truck) Loud Majobe made from scrap plastic and discarded wiring, clatters away to the amusement of local residents of this town near Bushbuckridge.

What makes Majobe’s invention even more remarkable is that he struggles academically, but as his unemployed 40-year-old mother, Tlangelani Mhlongo, points out, her son has magic in his hands.

Photo credit: ANA

The budding 16-year-old engineer said that he picks his material to build his vehicles in public waste areas.

“I target the spots where mechanics throw their waste to pick up old generators and rejected wires,” he told the African News Agency (ANA). “Although we do not own a car at home, because I am in to this, I find myself doing it.”

His mother disclosed that her son, one of five children, was always in tune with wiring from an early age.

“From as early as seven years old, Loud played only around wires and cables and tubing pipes…you would not send him anywhere or talk to him to get his attention. Over time he became popular in our village for helping other kids with their school projects because they wanted the best quality.

“Two years ago his teacher called me and told me just how powerfully creative my son was,” Mhlongo said. “I can only be glad in my heart because I am very proud of him but it saddens me that he does not do well in his school books.”

Photo credit: ANA

She feels that her son’s talent may be misplaced in an ordinary school but says finding him a place at a science-focused or technical school is beyond her as she battles to sustain her family.

“My wish is for Loud to go to a science school altogether or a school where he can study practical stuff, but my hands are tied to help him with anything other than the shelter and food to preserve him and his siblings.”

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Lindiz van Zilla