As a technology enthusiast, i was intrigued when i saw an advert popping up on my Facebook timeline of a Malawian manufacturing power banks under the name Kayondo.
Interestingly i was sitting in the dark as the electricity was off; i had a nervous feeling my phone will go off, have me disconnected from the world.
Sifting through his page i found the specifics of the power banks Kayondo was making, the price tags and wanted to know more, not just for me but for Malawians to know it can be a manufacturing country.
On Friday, September 24, i took the trip after booking to meet the man, Sam Smith Kayondo Silumbu who is the owner of Kayondo Science and Technology in Chirimba.
We drove to Lunzu stage, made a pit stop at St Martin Catholic Church turn and waited for three minutes as Kayondo had told us he was coming. When he arrived, we introduced ourselves and made a short drive to his place.
It is amazing how the likes of Jeff Bezos started off from a garage to a world renowned billion dollar business and for Kayondo it has a similar touch.
We went into an iron sheet gate where he invited us into his house and found a relative average size room with machinery and a large board with numerous charging points, that is where the magic happens.
Kayondo explains their factory is a light manufacturer because they get raw materials from China and we assemble using their knowledge.
"We are a light-manufacturing company because we use semi finished raw materials and convert them into usable products."
While watching the actual process, we noticed and as he explained: they first test the batteries, one battery is 2000 mAh and it takes 2 hours to taste 10. Then they test the circuit boards before they start assembling using soldering iron to link the two, the third process is to test the batteries if they have reached the required mAh.
Such work is hazardous and in the factory there are ventilation which are used to suck the soldering iron as a health measure. There is also a devices work on the hand which beeps red for caution that something is wrong and blue if the conditions are normal.
He disclosed they started manufacturing after the collapse of a textile business which they were running but due to COVID-19 they could not sustain.
The manufacturer makes 10 to 20 power banks per day and this is because of limited resources but said the factory has the ability of making at least 100 power banks if they had electricity and raw materials.
Kayanda said they believe they are contributing to Malawi 2063 components of industrialization. "For us having this factory, it means we are contributing directly and also we are contributing to employment.
"We get young people, women hen we have material to help out with packaging while other with skill set do soldering iron. Currently we do not have permanent employees.
He explains they are looking at also producing and supplying Universal Serial Bus (USB). "We will be producing the power banks and come with locally made USB and also sell these USB on the market.:
On the durability of the power banks, Kayondo said they their product does not compromise on quality adding they started in 2017 and have had time to make research, pilot the product to get feedback and iron out issues.
He did however point out there are some technical issues which are minor like one power bank had a faulty switch and could not turn off the light.
"We have sent over 100 power banks on the market and the feedback we have got is impressive."
The power banks are not available in shops but they deal direct with clients and Kayondo said this is to get feedback and improve on their strengths.