Local whiz-kid afforded chance to further his studies in electronics
Simon Petrus, the young whiz-kid who rose to global online fame in 2016 for inventing a mobile phone that works with radio frequencies, requiring no SIM card or airtime credit, enrolled at the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre in February thanks to a three year study sponsorship by Erongo Marine Enterprises.
Petrus has been enrolled in a three year permanent course in electronics at the centre, with a pledge of N$135,000 made towards his studies.
Petrus, former learner of the Dr. Abraham Iyambo Senior Secondary School at the Oshikunde Village in the Ohangwena Region, has hopes of putting Namibia and the continent on the map with more ground breaking inventions.
In 2016 his SIM-less phone invention, which incorporated an all-in-one radio/television/air conditioner/charger device, won him first prize at the Nampower National Science Fair. He was only 19 at the time.
His natural talent is evident from the string of inventions he started creating from a young age, which amongst others include an electric car (2012), an electrical converter and windmill power generator (2014) and a kitchen appliance which incorporates a cup washing machine with a stove top cooker and refrigerator (2015).
With the personal goal of ‘shifting his mind set from poverty to prosperity’, this chance to formal training opens up a whole new world of opportunities.
“This opportunity will allow me to improve my skills and boost my mind. I will be able to achieve and invent a lot more,” said Petrus
It has not always been plain sailing for Petrus. His modest upbringing in Okongo meant that he was faced with financial difficulties, often struggling to find the money to complete his inventions. It took him more than 2 years to complete his now famous phone device at a cost of N$2 000, money which was funded by his struggling parents.
He explained that he tried many different avenues to raise funds for his projects, and in many instances he had to make use of scraps and discarded pieces of equipment to complete his projects. However, despite the hardships and struggles, his curiosity and persistent spirit never let him down.
“Anything electronic I could find around the house I would take apart and put together again, no matter how long it took me. If I did not understand something I would ask my teachers,” Petrus explained.
“Simon’s inventive spirit and natural talent is a remarkable example of the innovative nature and potential of young people in Namibia, which needs to be supported. It is an absolute privilege for us to give this young genius the opportunity to study and further hone his skills in order to achieve even greater heights. Erongo Marine’s support of Simon is directly in line with our drive to empower, equip and transform the lives of Namibians,” Erongo Marine Enterprises Managing Director, Dr Uumati said.
Erongo Marine Enterprises is a local registered fishing company and one of the largest employers in the horse mackerel industry. During the past five years Erongo Marine Enterprises has invested more than N$20 million in community projects across the country.
Caption: Simon Petrus (left) inspected the classroom where he will be taught all things electronic. Pictured with him is Mr Kashindi Ausiku from the Sam Nujoma Foundation (middle) and his WVTC instructor Mr Moyo.