After seven years of running Maker Faire Africa we have seen the ecosystem change.  In our view, the need for “maker” events on a continent-wide scale is not as necessary as when we first started.

We are excited to evolve forward.  We will be repositioning MFA as a champion and connector of African manufacturing, to highlight the importance of local production spaces and activities that foster the serendipity & experimentation of invention.

Thanks for partnering with us on this journey.  We’ll keep you updated as to what we uncover in our new adventures.

MFA team










I’m a motorcycle guy, so anytime you put a motor on a chassis with something less than four wheels, then I’m interested. The creation below is by a young man called “STA”, who’s got a lot of swagger and a double teardrop tattoo under his right eye. In many ways STA is a one-of-a-kind character, unlike anyone else I ran into in Lagos.


Let’s put it this way, anyone who rides such an eye-catching bike without a license plate, and who has no worries of the cops hassling him because of it, is certainly cut from a different cloth. When stopped, STA simply points to the Nigerian flag flying on the front and explains that it’s all the license he needs. (I kid you not)

STA spent about 4 years in Holland where he was inspired by custom motorcycles and trikes (tricycles). When he came back to Nigeria he decided he could build his own here. STA International’s first bike is the long-forked trike.


Due to using his own funds, it’s a little underpowered with only a 250cc engine and a 10 liter tank. STA scrounged around and found the different parts, and put it all together himself. All total, he spent 300,000 Naira ($1,600) on it.

The bike has some very comfortable seating, a nice big sound system, 4 big silencers in the rear and drink holders for both driver and passengers. He can carry two passengers in the back, and there’s room under the seats for a little storage.



The bike is kickstarted, which I wasn’t expecting at first as I’m used to bikes this big having an electrical starter. Makes sense though, as this is a small engine bought off of a used engine reseller. The trike also has a reverse gear, which comes in handy when the bike is as long as this one is, for maneuvering out of difficult spaces.

STA and I hung out a bit over the last few days. He’s got a real passion for modding bikes, and his next big plans include an even bigger trike, though he hasn’t fully fleshed out the design yet. I showed him some of the cool, retro, modded designs on Bike Exif and we talked a while about what a custom bike for African cities might actually look like.

There are some pretty serious power issues in Lagos. Power outages happen multiple times per day all over the city, so everyone has a backup generator if they can afford one. What do you do if you can’t afford a generator, and/or can’t afford even a second of lost power (for your desktop computer, etc)?

Salami Olupeni Samuel (Sam) created Sam Powersystems, a company that uses locally sourced components to create power inverters which connect to car batteries for automatic backup power. Sam fabricates a 1.5kva power inverter from materials bought from local suppliers and markets.

The people who buy Sam’s equipment generally don’t have a generator, or if they do they use this so that they don’t have to power it up quite as much during short outages. You won’t need a UPS as the battery serves this purpose, providing automatic failover with an internal switch in the power inverter if your power fails.

Primary uses of the system include, computers, lights, fans, TV and decoder.

If you want to buy one, the power inverter costs 40k Naira ($250), and the battery is 50k Naira ($300).

a 15 y/o Boys Hydraulic Toys in Nigeria from WhiteAfrican on Vimeo.

Odo Gerald is a quiet 15 year old boy who loves to make things. At Maker Faire Africa this year, you’ll find his table surrounded by all the other little boys whenever he flips the battery on. That’s because he’s got the coolest toys around by far, all manner of heavy equipment machines that operate by batter and hydraulics.

Hydraulic excavator and dumptruck, handmade in Nigeria by a 15 year old boy

Toys made: dump truck, back hoe, excavator and a helicopter.

Odo has 4 toys he’s made over the last 4 months. They’re made of painted plywood, syringes, wooden pieces, wire, water and small tubes along with a motorcycle battery to run it all. His next big project is to make a small helicopter that he can get off the ground.

There are a number of kids at this year’s Maker Faire Africa, and it’s a real treat to see what they’re coming up with. More on some of the other projects later.

What happens when two 25 year old guys have enough knowledge to hack tuktuk’s and motorcycles, and enough time to to do it?


Ibrahim Adekunle and Shola Omoniyi are the brains behind what they call the “Tricycle Limo” and “Tricycle Jeep”.

The Tricycle Limo can hold up to 12 people, plus driver, the Tricycle Jeep can hold 5 people, plus driver. Both vehicles cost between 100-200k Naira ($600-1200) to rent for the day, and are often on call for weddings, carnivals and other events.

The Tricycle Limo takes about 1.5m Naira ($9,500) to make, and about 2 weeks to put together once they have the money. This is their first one to make, and they didn’t have enough money to do it all at once, so it took them 3 weeks to create. It’s a super-long vehicle, so I asked how they strengthen the chassis, and they do that with a very strong pipe.

The Tricycle Jeep is actually a stranger mod, using a tuktuk chassis and a 2 cylinder engine from a vehicle. The front grill can hold 100 kilos of weight, which they use for carrying bags of rice, jerry cans of water, or for mounting speakers on at events.

Finally, the motorcycle is made from a bunch of other motorcycle parts that Ibrahim found. It’s just his own personal bike, just for fun, with a 250cc engine and shade on the top for those hot days in the Lagos sun. I got to take this one for a little spin myself, and though nothing operates quite like you’d expect on a motorcycle, it was a lot of fun.






(Note: the internet connection is weak, so I’m having to upload smaller images)


Our Own Innovation Culture : How Africa is Driving a New Era of Invention 

What is the role of “invention” in an ‘innovation culture’?  What are the unique catalytsts that promote it, both on a macro and micro level, in African societies?  As the new global model for manufacturing becomes personal, democratized and distributed, it forms tighter bonds with the systems that are already a basis of strength for much of Africa.  Nigeria, in particular, has many informal systems that can naturally self-assemble into new models for innovation, both for Africa and around the world.


Maker Faire Africa’s Emeka Okafor (Timbuktu Chronicles, TEDGlobal 2009), along with Pauline Mujawamariya (African Innovation Foundation) and Moji Rhodes (Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Governor of Lagos and Coordinator, INNOVATE LAGOS Project) lead this rapid-fire overview & lively discussion, open to all workshop participants.  Joined by inventors, entrepreneurs, designers and engineers from Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, and Kenya, and the U.S., the discussion will explore a variety of new tools & platforms that are being used around the world to bring inventions to market; faster, cheaper and easier than ever before, and we’ll work together to explore how these can be specifically adapted to the needs of Nigeria’s inventors.  Crowd-sourced funding, indigenous materials creation, empowering women inventors, personal manufacturing platforms & technologies, and the need to brand invention inside Africa, will be primary topics of discussion.


This opening talk will be jam-packed with useful information & ideas for all types of inventors, from grassroots to Ph.D.’s, and addresses topics of interest for a variety of industries in Nigeria, including architecture, agriculture, health, sanitation, social design, engineering, fashion, film and more.


The workshop is open to MFA ’12 Exhibiting Makers, with limited seats available to the public.  Register HERE.


NOVEMBER 7th, 2012

9:00am – 10:30am

CcHub (CoCreation Hub Nigeria)

6th Floor, 294 Herbet Macaulay Way

Sabo, Yaba, Lagos

+234 (01) 2950555