Nikki's Reviews > The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
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Nov 28, 11

Read in March, 2010

In The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, Malawians’ refusal to embrace science in favor of magic causes problems for the protagonist, William Kamkwamba, who wants to uphold the folklore and mysticism of his own culture. In fact, his fellow townspeople even suspect that William and his windmill might have contributed to the continuous drought that ravaged Malawi. Despite the adversity that William faces from his townspeople, William is able to see beyond the world of us versus them and individual agents and make an impact on society in a positive manner. Not only does he aid and change his community for the better, he becomes a global citizen of the world in his creation of a windmill to generate electricity and a pump that generates running water for his small yet spirited community.

In reflecting corporate social responsibility, a lack of prejudgment, the use of the ethics, global citizenship and in simply harnessing the power of sheer will, William manages to put the withering nation of Malawi on the global map by exposing it to the rest of the world upon the discovery of his big-time, small-town invention. When he writes, “a windmill meant more than just power; it was freedom”, he could in fact be referring to the dismantling of realist structures of skepticism and nationalism that pervaded his thoughts and the thoughts of those around him.

A hopeful, understated and light-hearted read about one boy's true life success in disentangling himself from the realist structures, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind showcases just how interconnected global society truly is. Kamkwamba himself experienced instant fame, making an appearance on “The Daily Show” and garnering a feature in The Wall Street Journal.
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