Have you ever pictured yourself using a handheld or portable jackpot gambling machine where you play and win money or cooling your room with a fan not powered by electricity, all made in Namibia?

This is exactly what Simon Matias is currently doing. This innovator and inventor from Windhoek’s Havana informal settlement has a natural talent for electronics.

He does not have a formal technical education from a vocational training centre or university, but he uses his God-given talent to imagine and build things from scratch.

This reporter met with Matias in Havana, where he demonstrated how his two prototype jackpot gambling machines operate.

“I made this one last year,” he said about the portable machine that operates on N.dollar 5 coins. This was the first invention he came up with soon after he failed Grade 11.

“This is my second invention, which I made this year. It works on N.dollars 20 notes,” Matias said about his second machine, which, like the first, can be fitted in a backpack. The two machines are powered by cellphone batteries, which, once fully charged, can last up to a month.

“I used discarded things like radios, cellphones, and computer scraps—things that could have ended up being burned and polluting the environment. I fixed them, put them together, and came up with these jackpots. I came up with these out of nothing, and that is because God has blessed me with a unique talent,” said the 27-year-old inventor.

Matias said he does not have any formal training or technical experience. Additionally, he does not draw ideas from YouTube or the Internet.

“It all comes naturally to me. My passion for electronics started at a young age, when I used to fix radios and torches while growing up in the village. It is a God-given talent. It is not that I went to a special school,” said Matias, who is originally from Oshikunde village in the Ohangwena Region.

Matias has lofty goals as he plans more inventions and has already experimented with an electricity-free fan.

Unfortunately, Namibia does not have a culture of manufacturing, and there is no assistance for young people with natural talent like him.

“I have many concepts, but I cannot do much due to the limitations. I cannot get the materials and tools that I need to create different products. I am planning a fan that is self-powered. I made some progress with it, but I am struggling to buy the essential components. The fan is an important product, especially for people who do not have access to electricity, like here in Havana,” he said.

With the necessary financial and material support, Matias said he would be able to improve and refine his jackpot machines. “I have ideas on how to improve and refine the electronics and software, but I don’t have resources,” he said.

Matias is unemployed, but he manages to make a little money with his mobile jackpot machines.

“I play with friends in the neighbourhood and also go around showing them off at various places, including bars. People are interested in my machines, and many are encouraging me to continue with my passion for inventing things,” he said.

The young innovator said he has a dream of augmenting his talent with a formal education, especially vocational training.

“I can also fix smartphones and do general electrical repairs. Though I have no formal training, I am good at fixing electricity. Maybe I just need guidance, but I can do most of the electrical work,” he said.

The Councillor for Moses //Garoëb constituency, Stefanus Ndengu, said there is a need to assist Matias and other talented young Namibians.

“This young man is showing his talent. He is talented, he only needs assistance, whether it is from the government or the private sector. We really need these talented people to produce various products because we cannot continue to rely on others for everything. We have our own people who are really talented, but they do not have support in terms of materials and equipment. They are not equipped, and people like Matias should be taken to training institutions like vocational training centres to add to their talent. He can fit in well,” Ndengu said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency