Young actor living his dream

A month ago, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a film adapted from the true-life story of Malawian William Kamkwamba caused sensation when it was premiered globally. The main reactions are not about the movie being Malawi’s first hit on Netflix, but rather an inspiring tale of Kamkwamba who, at the age of 13, self-taught the skill of repairing local villagers’ radios with materials he was scavenging from a scrapyard. It was the same scraps and his father’s bicycle dynamo that he used to propel a windmill which until today, pumps water for daily use and irrigation in his Wimbe Village in Kasungu. The film, a directorial debut for Oscar’s nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, features Kenya’s Maxwell Simba who plays Kamkwamba. In this conversation with Yvonnie Sundu (YS) Simba (MS) shares his journey to his newly found status of stardom.

Kamkwamba (L) and Simba at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Y

S: How long have you been acting?

M

S: I have just finished high school and I am awaiting to join college and I have been acting for some time, but on the low. I have been doing a couple of plays from a young age, in church and in school, but The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was my first film.

Y

S: In your own words, what is the summary of the story of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind?

M

S: The movie is about a young inquisitive William who defies all odds to save his village which is on the verge of hunger and starvation by building a windmill from improvised materials and little knowledge he found in a book. William happens to be this boy who loves science and is very passionate about what he believes in, even if it means he has to go against the whole world to achieve it.

Y

S: Are you happy with your newly found feat, especially being among

the young men currently trending, globally?

M

S: Well, it’s amazing that the film and William’s story is currently receiving the global attention. It is definitely a story that will go a long way in inspiring a lot of people and hopefully influence change in how governments tackle the issue of global warming and famine.

Y

S: One of the issues that brought mixed reactions about the movie was the Chichewa accent as only one person in the main cast was Malawian. How did you find it speaking Chichewa?

M

S: At first, I didn’t know how it would turn out. But after the first couple of lessons I found it to be very interesting and enjoyed speaking it a lot.

Y

S: What are you doing to promote the movie back home so that many people, especially youths, draw inspiration from Kamkwamba?

M

S: I have done a television interview that made Kenyans aware of William’s story. There are some articles and publications that have also been made about the film.

Y

S: What plans do you have for acting and anything you are working on currently?

M

S: I am taking acting as a career coupled with electrical and electronics engineering studies. As to whether I am on set now, well that’s a wait and see scenario.

Y

S: What is your advice to African aspiring actors and youths in general?

M

S: If you believe in something then stand up and fight for it regardless of the odds. The universe has a way of compensating those who make an effort. I believe that opportunity won’t knock on your door unless it knows where you live and there is a need for one to always stay ready and prepared for opportunities when they come up. Don’t just sit and wait, start doing something about that which you believe in. n

Share This Post