Simon Skhosana, an unemployed 50-year-old father of two, has built a pedal car from scratch.
The car is one of many such creations Simon has built since losing his job more than 10 years ago, and they have made him quite popular in his hometown, Moloto, northeast of Pretoria.
Simon is happy he gets to take his kids to school when it rains or is very cold. He says there was a time when his boy had to go to the hospital but they didn't have enough money for transport, so Simon put his son and his wife in the backseat and off they went. He is very proud of this moment.
The car is operated by using 2 chains to pedal it. It has 11 gears, a foot brake, a steering wheel, rear view mirrors and a manually operated windscreen wiper. He uses locks to secure the door and always ensures his 'busy bee' son is locked in, because he likes to open the doors while they are moving. He also hooks up a homemade trailer to his car when he has heavier objects to transport.
Simon's wife and community are very proud of him and his creations, but not all are so supportive. He says traffic officers give him a hard time even though he only drives in the emergency lane. They stop him and demand he take his 'thing' off the road. Some officers like to joke around and tell him he must get a driver's license.
He plans to paint and name his car, and is still adding a series of finishing touches. His journey started when he lost his job as a carpenter and welder in 2008.
Simon refused to feel sorry for himself and started repairing bicycles and toy cars made of wire, selling them along Moloto Road. As another means of survival he also does welding and carpentry for the community.
He was not likely to pass discarded metal and started designing his pedal car out of pieces of thrown-away bicycle frames, wood panels and other scrap material.
NAIJ.com gathered that the first car Simon built was a bakkie (pickup truck) that he used to carry his tools in when he got odd jobs, but was not happy with it. Most of the body was made out of wood as he struggled to get the right materials.
Simon reckons he could build pedal cars should he have a proper workshop and access to the right materials. In 2016, he sold a two-seater baby stroller which he modelled into a car for R350 (about N8,500).
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