Freeplay Stories

Lighting up sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of about 350 million people, has the lowest levels of electrification in the world, where 9 out of 10 people do not have electricity. This is the primary reason that the Weza, Freeplay's portable energy source, was designed.


Nearly 2 billion people, approximately 35% of the world, do not have access to electricity. Sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of about 350 million people, has the lowest levels of electrification in the world, where 9 out of 10 people do not have electricity. This is the primary reason that the Weza, Freeplay's portable energy source, was designed. It is being considered for use in a number of diverse applications throughout the world, including telecommunications and lighting.


For example, the Nigerian police are in the midst of purchasing 5000 Wezas for distribution to police outposts that are scattered all over the country. "Rural outposts currently do not have any lighting after dark, making it difficult for officers to work effectively around the clock," says Anssy Okoebor of Ubuntu Traders, Freeplay's West African distributor. In Nigeria, only 18% of rural areas are electrified and in most areas, crucial services such as hospitals, clinics and police stations/outposts come to a standstill once the sun goes down. For areas that are connected to the national grid, outages in the late evening are common. "It is not unusual for the electricity to be out between 8pm and 1am," says Okoebor. "It is an unfortunate way of life here."


Each rural outpost will primarily use the Weza to power a number of Freeplay's rechargeable, portable LED ball lights providing police station with as much lighting as needed throughout the night. It is expected that switching to Freeplay's portable LED lights will provide 25 to 75 times more light than a candle. "The police currently spend a significant sum on candles, kerosene, and batteries for lighting purposes," says Okoebor. "The Weza will provide them with a brighter, cheaper and longer lasting solution."


In Angola, the government is also intending to use the Weza for lighting. "Each of 1080 village chiefs will get a Weza along with 20 of Freeplay's rechargeable ball lights," says Jenny Kotze, Freeplay Energy's African Business Development Manager. This project, completely funded by the Angolan government, will allow villagers to have much needed lighting in their huts and in the fields at night. "The chief of the village will charge the lights, distribute them to the community and recharge them as and when required," says Kotze.