Poverty, Inequality, and Village Life in Southeastern Africa: The Conditions Behind 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind'

Wednesday, October 13th
7:30 p.m.
PAC 134

This year's Book in Common, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, tells the inspiring story of young William Kamkwamba who dreams of building a windmill that would bring electricity and running water to his village in Malawi in an effort to change his life and the lives of those around him. Using scrap metal, tractor and bicycle parts, the young Kamkwamba forges a crude windmill that powers four lights, and a second that turns a water pump. The narrative is one of vision, individualism, and determination, providing a window into the life of one inventive young man and the world of a Malawian village. However, like much of southern and southeastern Africa, Malawi is a country facing serious problems of food security, health, education, and governance in a region that has suffered economic strife, authoritarian regimes, and human massacres. These conditions contribute to a dynamic of foreign-aid-dependency in order to meet the region's development needs. Both current and historical forces—geopolitical, social, colonial, and others—have contributed to the region's hardships. What are these forces, what connections link us with the people of this region, and what opportunities and obligations—if any—do Americans have to understand and engage with them? Join CAPE and a panel of experts on and activists in the region as we explore the ethical import of these questions and investigate possible approaches and solutions to these challenges.

David Eaton
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
CSU, Chico

Mr. Koala Koudougou
CSU, Chico Student
Founder and President
feedingnations.org

Annette Lily Russ
Founder and Executive Director
just1person.org

Tony Waters
Professor
Department of Sociology
CSU, Chico