Kenyan innovators continue to receive global attention even as the manufacturing sector continues to rest in peace in the midst of Covid-19. Laikipia County started with BJ-50, and another engineer followed with an electric car that is powered by a diesel generator. This time round, a self-trained engineer has made an invention that will cause a stir, literally, in the whole of nation.
Nineteen year old by the name Njeff Mbesus from Tala is a man on a mission to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing bachelors today. From his makeshift lab in Tala, Mbesus has invented an automatic ugali maker that produces fully cooked ugali from dry maize in just under five minutes!
The invention which is set to launch in February 2021 for a select group of users before going mainstream in March will allow one to simply put dry maize and some water into the machine, and receive a well cooked ugali in just five minutes. This will likely make Mbesus one of the richest men in Kenya due to the expected demand. Currently his startup named Athusi Wugali Services has already received funding from top venture capital firms in the world.
We spoke to Njeff Mbesus and it was evident that he was a man on a mission. “This device uses less energy and can get you the ugali you want in just under five minutes. Because one starts with just maize, it will enable ugali lovers to get rid of the middle men – maize millers and posho mills – a well as reduce wastage when preparing Ugali. Currently, more than 15% is lost when cooking ugali in form of spillages and the one that sticks on the sufuria.”
The numbers are convincing.
Asked how he came up with the idea, Mbesus said that he grew up in an environment where ugali was loved, but maize was scarce. “Even water to wash utentils after cooking was not readily available. This meant that we needed an efficient system that can solve those challenges and I was inspired.”
“The potential for scale is high. This device can be used in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia or even Zimbabwe. Even in West Africa, it has been tested on fufu and it produced excellent results.”
The impact of the invention will also lead to great improvement of people’s lives. “We shall no longer have women hurting their backs as they try to make Ugali that does not stick-on walls. It will just be a matter of a button. Bachelors will also not be condemned to not eating ugali because they fear washing a sufuria that has been used to cook ugali. This device is self-cleaning.”
With those benefits, it is likely that the device will be adopted widely. Some of the innovators who tried to make the machine before Mbesus failed miserably because their invention had an electric motor, hence could not be used in places without electricity. Mbesus’ invention uses heat from any source to provide the mechanical power needed to turn the ugali.
Hail Njeff Mbesus.