Creative Gadgets Dominate Maker Faire Africa

The U.S.-based iterations of Maker Faire, annual celebrations of all things DIY (we attended Maker Faire Bay Area), are famous for their out-of-this-world gadgets and contraptions. Maker Faire Africa is no different. Now in its second year, the Nairobi, Kenya-based fair showcases everything from robotic porridge-cooking machines (above) to solar-powered computer kiosks made out of oil drums (below).

Though the showcased gadgets may look similar to those found at other Maker Faires, the African Faire has a different motivation than its Western counterparts. In a recent interview with, Steve Daniels, co-founder of Maker Faire Rhode Island, explains, "The first event in California might have seemed like giant sprawling science fair, but as the event moved to new locations it took on new meanings. In Africa the event connects artisans in an attempt to move the continent into a grassroots industrial era."

Maker Faire Africa is small, with just 137 confirmed guests for this year's event (held this week) on its Facebook page. But, like the U.S.-based Faires, which attract thousands of guests, we imagine that Maker Faire Africa will grow in popularity as it gains recognition. There is certainly no shortage of ingenuity at the event. Below, check out one of our favorite attendees—a group of designers that makes jewelry out of butcher bones.

[Photo Credits: Afrigadget, Maker Faire Africa]


Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

Add New Comment


  • Nate O'Shaughnessey

    Excellent! Glad to see the publicity.
    Western business can learn something from their ingenuity and simplicity.

    Sure, OSHA would never aprove of their methods, but the quality of product they make in relation to the quality of place/tools they're making it with is amazing. There end result is as nice as you'd expect out of an modern factory, but they truly are recycling and bootstrapping. Using bone that would get tossed to a landfill, and creating something beautiful using old grinders and a tiny drill press. I would like to see them using safer tools at least, but they seem to be quite skilled at doing it without safety fixtures for holding the material being drilled/ground etc.

    In short, thanks for the article!