Bike modifier catches Nust eye Mr Pardon Gurajena

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
A VICTORIA Falls man who modified an ordinary mountain bicycle into a solar powered “semi-vehicle” has caught the attention of the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).

President Mnangagwa launched an innovation hub at Nust more than a year ago as part of the country’s Education 5.0 initiative to nurture an enabling environment where a community of entrepreneurs including students and high school pupils can grow and contribute to the development of Zimbabwe.

The tertiary institution will be hosting an inaugural innovation expo on June 10 under the theme “An exhibition of ideas that can be commercialised” and targets all innovators including students, academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, small to medium enterprises, youths and ordinary citizens with any science work that can be showcased.

After reading about Mr Pardon Gurajena (32), a school drop-out who modified the bicycle which now has a full dashboard resembling that of a vehicle, Nust director for communication and marketing Mr Thabani Mpofu said he (Mr Gurajena) can attend the expo.

Mr Gurajena’s bicycle is fitted with an auto electric box, hazards, indicators, low and high beam lights, park lights, blue traffic lights and siren, anti-theft mode, air conditioner, reverse buzzer and reverse lights, rev counter, radio and speakers, a battery meter, detector board, solar panel, battery and battery gauge.

He branded it “Mazda Two-Wheeler” and uses it to carry his equipment when going about his mobile car wash business.

“The National University of Science and Technology will be hosting the first Research and Innovation Expo on June 10, 2021 from 0900 hours to 1600 hours at the main campus. Participants are invited to pitch their ideas during the Expo Day. They can physically bring their innovations, models, prototypes, or use posters and videos,” said Mr Mpofu.

“This is the first Research and Innovation Expo organised by the NUST Innovation Hub in conjunction with the Research and Internationalisation Office as part of the university’s efforts of implementing Education 5.0 whose pillars are teaching, research, community engagement, innovation and industrialisation.”

He said Nust’s Innovation Hub is a centre for incubating innovations that can be commercialised to set up industries.

“As a University, we believe we cannot do this alone hence the idea to open up the Innovation Hub to all innovators.

“Talented innovators will work together with our experts from diverse fields including scientists, engineers, architects, accountants, marketers among others to develop their innovations into viable self-sustainable businesses. The University will provide resources for selected projects that can be commercialised,” said Mr Mpofu.

He said any innovation that can contribute to national socio-economic development as spelt out in the National Development Strategy (NDS1) is welcome. The university will assess each innovation on a case-by-case basis and offer the required assistance. The country’s institutions of higher learning have a critical role to play in the NDS1 as stated in the Education 5.0 policy.

“While our mandate is human capital development for industrialisation and socio-economic transformation with a bias towards STEM based solutions, Education 5.0 demands that universities become Zimbabwe’s modernisation and industrialisation champions.

“He (Gurajena) can attend. As NUST, we have adopted an inclusive approach to innovations and industrialisation hence the call for all innovators to participate in the upcoming expo,” added Mr Mpofu.

The expo comes at a time when the country is still in lockdown and Mr Mpofu said Covid-19 protocols will be observed as the health and safety of the nation is top priority.

When he started modifying his bicycle in 2012, Mr Gurajena wanted to exhibit it at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo but he has not been able to. The Nust expo could be a break-through for him.-@ncubeleon

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