Invention: Big setback doesn't stop working man from feeding his family

2009-06-03 00:00

IT is often said that desperate times call for desperate measures; this is certainly the case for Anton Madlala from Mpophomeni Township.

After his car was impounded for being unroadworthy, Madlala had to find alternative transport, so he built a bicycle with three wheels and motorised it with a lawnmower and a wooden propeller.

Madlala said he only had two weeks to build his motorised bicycle. He used to transport potatoes in order to feed his family, and when the police impounded his car, he was forced to find alternative and creative ways to do his work.

He said he knew that without transport, his family would starve.

“The car was my source of income, and now I use this bicycle to transport those potatoes and feed my family.”

Madlala said the initial phases of building the bicycle were very difficult.

“I did not have a lot of material. I only had a lawnmower engine and once that seemed to work, I was inspired that the whole thing was going to work. I put the propeller at the back because I had modelled the idea from planes that fly using a propeller.”

Madlala is proud of his machine. “I use this bike to sustain my family and it’s reliable. When I travel to Impendle, it takes me about three hours, and the only time I have to push it is when I am riding up a steep mountain.”

He said his invention has made him a legend in his township. He said many people are now offering him more material to improve it. He added he hopes to race it some day.

Madlala said what impresses him the most is that the police do not mind his new mode of transport.

“I have seen a number of police and all they tell me is that it’s a good idea, which I should improve. They say I just need to put indicators and the brake lights on.”

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