In Kelvin Odartei’s young days when he was walking around, picking empty containers and scrap metals to build small vehicles for exhibitions, his mother was against the idea.
“I was trying to stop him because I don’t want my son to be a vagabond,” said Abigail Perbi. But a few years down the line, Kelvin has manufactured his own stylish sports car, which he calls “Kelvinsuik-2020”, to the admiration of many, and Perbi is now proud of her son’s feat.
The 18-year-old student of the Chantan M/A Basic School in Accra, Ghana, who just completed his Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), came into the limelight after videos of him driving in his Lamborghini-like car to school on the last day of his BECE examinations went viral on social media.
The young creative genius told Face2Face Africa that he started building the car when he was just 14.
“I saw a moving plane passing by and something told me to build a plane so from that day I started building an aeroplane. It led to a stage, when it reached that stage, how I wanted the aeroplane to fly, I couldn’t have it like that so I decided to build a car.
“Then I started building a car to exhibitions, for showing to people, and one day I got friends who are very excited for it, and they came part so we all work together. So one, I day started building this big project.” [sic]
His teacher, Patrick Yaw Adjei, has been giving him all the encouragement and support.
“I will say that Kelvin is the type of student who is very…I mean he always wants to explore with every opportunity that comes his way. When you give him something to do, he wants to do and do it very well and even do it extraordinarily.”
And that was how a young Kelvin never gave up on his dream even when he faced challenges.
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“I learned how to build the car on my own, and if I find any difficulties in it, I go to one of my friends to solve my problems and also get the functions and names of the other car parts,” he said.
Adjei, who has been calling on government and private entities to support Kelvin, said its high time schools paid more attention to practical knowledge than theoretical, especially in skill-based subjects.
“Most at times, we train these kids in school, they do very well and they write their BECE and their WASSCE, they do very well but actually the skill on the ground, we are not able to develop them,” he said.
“We always want our kids to be doctors. We always want our kids to be lawyers, accountants…but I tell you, what this boy has produced, I can see that there is such a very very bright future for him, and that is why I want to encourage everyone out there.”
Kelvin’s mother couldn’t agree more. “For now his father has passed away, and we have a lot of challenges, but it is God. It is God. My dream is he should turn to be a very huge engineer.”
“My plans for the future is to build a car and manufacture cars in Ghana and all over the world,” said Kelvin.