An invention by a young entrepreneur in South Africa is helping improve mobility for wheelchair users. Ernest Mongezi Majenge is known as the wheelchair doctor. He refurbishes old wheelchairs and turns them into stair friendly, off-road transportation. It take Majenge 24 hours to put together all the parts needed for each mobility product.
“ The secret of the wheelchair are the wheels. The wheelchair has been there for years but we only changed the wheels which has star wheels. We can also transform it to have the normal circle wheels that you can use it on a flat surface. It is a two in one wheels.” said Ernest Mongezi Majenge, 911 The Wheelchair Doctor
Majenge’s off-road wheelchairs have already hit the international market with France being the first country to take in orders. In a years time, he hopes to manufacture 10 000 wheelchairs.
“So far we have in a day we can manufacture four wheelchairs and it depended on the order we get since it is a new start-up company. On the ruby side, there were 5 that were sold in France and in South Africa there were only four.” he said.
While innovation in manufacturing wheelchairs is a step forward for promoting mobility, a hurdle for some manufactures and consumers is the price tag.
“Obviously we want strong durable wheelchairs but we don’t want to pay the cost of them so we would like innovation to bring the cost down and when it comes to maintenance with whatever innovations come, it needs to be easy to maintain and parts must be interchangeable.” said Ari Seirlis, QuadPara Association Board member
In South Africa, wheelchairs can cost anything between 200 to over 10 000 US dollars. Innovators like Ernest Mongezi Majenge believe that there is a market for more affordable high quality wheelchairs.