Africa has the highest number of young people in the world. According to Statista, the continent had 40 percent of its population aged 15 years and younger in 2021. This is against the global average of 26 percent. Over the years the world has seen the rise of young Africans who became pioneers under the age of 18.
Over the years, entrepreneurs on the continent have come up with several solutions in education, health care, and finance. There’s a lot of buzz around these great minds, but what you could be missing is the number of youngsters who are creating solutions and paving their path to entrepreneurial success.
These kids prove that age is not a barrier to success, how did they do it? especially here in Africa and who are they? here are the top 5 Africans who attained remarkable milestones under the age of 18.
Kelvin Doe, Sierra Leone, (Tech)
It is no news that Africa suffers from an erratic power supply; this was what inspired Kelvin to create a solution to help his neighborhood. At 11 Kelvin dashed out to collect scrap metal from the streets and built a battery capable of powering several houses in his community.
The self-taught engineer did not stop there he proceeded to build a radio transmitter, sound amplifier, and channel mixer which was he used to start his own radio station, earning him the title, “DJ Focus’’.
Kelvin was a finalist for GMIN’S Innovate Salone idea competition and speaker at TEDXTeen. In 2019, he received the MTV EMA generation Award for being an inspiration not only for black kids but for kids around the world.
Stacy Fru, South Africa (Education)
Stacey Fru easily makes the list of young Africans who became pioneers under the age of 18. At just 8 years Stacey decided to go into writing and released her first book titled Smelly Cats. She has released a total of 6 books. Stacey did not stop there, at 11 years she started presenting for CTVSA children’s television in South Africa, a broadcast dedicated to educating kids.
In 2020, she was selected for the International Children’s Peace Prize and in 2016, founded the Stacey Fru Foundation to help children in rural areas access education. She is an ambassador for Save the Children.
Williams Kamkwaba, Malawi (Tech)
In 2001, at just 14, William invented a wind turbine to generate electricity for his house in Wimbe where he lived at that time. Williams collected different mental scraps to build his wind turbine. He also went ahead to build a solar-powered water pump which helped to supply water in his community.
This little act of his has given him so much recognition all over the world his story was covered by Sarah Childress for the World Street Journal. He went ahead to publish his story titled The Boy who Harnassed the Wind his book received so much recognition. In 2010, it was selected as the University of Florida and Boise State University common book. The Auburn University and University of Michigan College of engineering also did the same in 2014.
Michelle Nkamankeng, South Africa
Michelle started writing at the tender age of 6, her book was to inspire children to overcome their fears and phobias recalling her experience with the sea waves in 2015 at the sun city beach, South Africa. This inspired the title of her book Waiting for the Wave.
In 2016, at the age of 7, she launched the book in Wits University South Africa making her one of the youngest authors in her country. The book waiting on the weave is the first book out of its four series.
In November of the same, Michelle launched her foundation to empower children who are from less privileged homes to access education and books she said ‘’I want to help other children learn how to read ‘’.
Mary Love Edwards, Nigeria (Sport)
Mary started playing tennis at the tender age of 4 and was coached by her dad. She has been referred to as the Nigerian Serena Williams. Mary came 4th in the Central Bank of Nigeria Junior Tennis Championship beating older players just at the age of 13. Mary was featured on BBC Sport in 2018, and she is now at IMG Academy, USA.
The founder of IMG Academy Nick Bollettieri said this about the youngster ‘‘this young girl is very different and super athlete, very handy, only a few can get away with that style’’. Mary won the CAT/ITF West and Central African Junior Championship Under 14 category.
We can only be on the lookout for the next generation of young Africans who will become pioneers under the age of 18.