Written by Liam Ngobeni for Pretoria News
Aged just 27, Ernest Mongezi Majenge has come up with an innovative wheelchair to help people living with disabilities move around more easily.
This comes after he witnessed the struggle most went through daily in wheelchairs.
The Wheelchair Doctor
Majenge’s innovative idea to redesign wheelchairs came to the Sunnyside resident when he saw people struggling when it came to accessing buildings which were rarely wheelchair-friendly.
He saw disabled children using wheelchairs that were well beyond their lifetime design. When the wheelchairs needed repairs these took up to three weeks, leaving the users stranded as they waited.
Majenge decided to offer wheelchair repair services with a turnaround time of 24 hours in order to get them back to the users speedily to avoid inconveniencing them for too long.
Determination in the face of rejection
Citing challenges in developing the prototype in 2018, he said he faced a lot of rejection from private sector players in the wheelchair industry and from several government departments.
“I remember approaching an investor who told me I was merely wasting my time in doing this as no one would inject funds into this project.”
This did not discourage him, he said. He did more research and ended up getting an investor from France to inject much-needed cash into the project. Majenge spent six months developing the prototype. So far five units have been sold and he is receiving orders.
“It has been hard but we are making progress. And with every order we see a brighter future and believe that the innovation will just get better. I could not get anyone to believe in this and I did not believe it would even get this far. I knocked on every door you can imagine.”
Majenge has a warehouse in Soweto and employs four technicians. His staff will grow as the business grows and he said he was happy with the fact he was also helping create employment at the same time.
He said the vision for his company, The Wheelchair Doctor, was to come up with more ways to make mobility easier for people living with disabilities.
“There is no other wheelchair like this… it’s proudly South African. I have patented it and we are coming up with more wheelchairs for different scenarios and areas, such as beaches, schools and old age homes, among others,” said Majenge.
Source: Pretoria News