Earlier this year we met Coventry University graduate Kushal Chavda, at the New Designers Show, London. He was exhibiting his prototype for a safari car, called “Kujenga”, meaning “to build” in Swahili.
The purpose of his project was to design a buggy that could be made in the developing world, using local skills and whatever materials they have to hand, such as bamboo, coconut rope, canvas, handwoven textiles and recycled plastic.
Kushal was inspired by the way Kerelan houseboats are built. As with the boats, the car begins with a hull-like, marine-ply chassis and then people pool resources to create the rest of the structure.
The car is designed to fit both practically and aesthetically into the proposed locations. The bare model Kujenga vehicles would be delivered to neighbourhoods throughout Asia. The population would then work together to construct the seats, the panels, the doors and a roof – and also to personalise their vehicles.
The distinctive multicoloured front fascia is made from recycled shredded plastic which is heated and then flattened. Each member of the community can add their favourite colours, using recycled bottles, packaging etc., giving a sense of ownership. Alternatively, colours of national flags, groups and cultures can be used.
Kujenga brings multiple benefits which help villages to be more independent and efficient. As a shared vehicle in a tribal scenario it widens community spirit in areas where people are much more reliant on each other; it makes daily life easier; its construction provides work opportunities and builds local skills. It also runs on biodiesel, so owners can even grow their own fuel.