Kelvin Odartei: Ghana’s Wonder Boy

“My plan for the future is to build a car and manufacture cars in Ghana and all over the world,” said Kelvin.

The 18-year-old student of the Chantan M/A Basic School in Accra, Ghana, who just completed his Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), became famous after videos surfaced on social media of him driving his self-built car to school on the last day of his ,BECE examinations.

He said he started building his car when he was 14 years old after making remote controlled prototypes from age seven.

“I saw a moving plane passing by and something told me to build a plane so from that day I started building an airplane.”

When he realized that he couldn’t make it fly, he took his talents to car building and gathered his friends to help him. Kelvin was born in Accra, Ghana to a family who did not earn much income. His mother wasn’t a fan of his dream, as a matter of fact, he claimed that she would take his metals and throw them away out of anger. She wanted him to focus on getting his education and not building a car. Despite their disagreements, he continued on with his passion and kept his focus on the bigger picture. Kelvin gathered money from common jobs like selling drinks on the side of the road.

“Sometimes I would starve and just use all my money to buy metals for the body of the car.”

Building a car from scratch has to seem impossible, not without the help from manufacturers and big machinery doing the work; believing a young teen can build one from scratch is unthinkable.

People all around his community doubted him, laughed at his dirty clothes from working on the car, told him he was crazy, and that he would never get it done. Kelvin didn’t care because he had a vision and he was determined to see it through until the end.

“There were times where I would try to assemble the car and it just wouldn’t work out, and that meant I had to spend more money and effort to start all over again, but quitting was never an option.”

His teacher, ,Patrick Yawadjei is Kelvin’s biggest supporter. He described Kelvin as always wanting to explore new opportunities. Yawadjei says the educational system does well in academics but when it comes to the ground and technical work, there are challenges. He thinks the educational system should focus also on these skills for their students. Yawadjei was probably the only person that didn’t doubt Kelvin.

“There is such a bright future for him.” says Yawadjei.

The day Kelvin finally got the car to move, was one of the happiest of his life. Although the car needs a serious paint job, the Lamborghini type doors and the fact that it runs perfectly, makes the car nothing but genius work. The car has an existing manual transmission engine in it and has no lights. Kelvin says that without more funding he can’t put the electrical and lights in the car yet, so he has an alarm on the car that he uses to let people know he is around when he drives.

When asked by Breakfast Daily if he knows how to even drive, he says “I’ve not learned how to drive before, but one of my friends was the first person to drive the car outside.”

As of recent, Kelvin wants to build a more advanced car. Something longer that more resembles a regular sedan. He hopes to attract investors to help further educate himself and advance his skills. Given the obvious, I don’t think that will be hard, however companies have been known to rather employ a person for their brain, than to give them money to later become their competition.

“My plan for the future is to build a car and manufacture cars in Ghana and all over the world,” said Kelvin.

The National Student’s Awards Secretariat recognized Kelvin and nominated him as the Basic school Personality of the year. You can vote for him here.

The National Students’ Awards is an award scheme organized by the NSA Ghana, awarding deserving students, individuals, and corporate bodies who are contributing to the development and sustainability of education in Ghana. There is also a funding link to help support Kelvin finish his car.

The Breakfast Daily anchor says that Kelvin is not just a Lamborghini boy, but a wonder boy. I have to agree, we can’t ignore hard working people like Kelvin that have natural talents. There is no telling what kind of extraordinary masterpieces he can create with the right support behind him.

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