Schoolboy builds cars, thanks to his dad's education

Young mechanic Obakeng held a spanner before he could talk

Obakeng Thetele, 18, from Bloemfontein has built a car
SOcars1604 Obakeng Thetele, 18, from Bloemfontein has built a car

A young mechanic that has put his hometown on the map for his self-made cars says he held a spanner in his hands even before he could talk.

Obakeng Thetele, 18, from Bloemfontein was inspired by his father who taught him how to fix cars.

“Both my parents are teachers but my father is also a mechanic who taught me how to fix cars from an early age,” he said.

Thetele, who is a grade 11 pupil at Brebner High School, said he always wanted a car but was impatient to wait for adulthood and to be employed, so he decided to build his own cars.

“I started in 2018 but I really focused during lockdown and made the cars move. It was really difficult because I didn’t have parts but my dad was able to buy me an old motorbike which I took apart. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a car and since I could not afford to buy one I decided to start making my own,” he said.

“I’m really thankful to my dad because when I battled with things such as mounting an engine he showed me the way.”

He used the parts from the motorbike and old scrapyard cars to make the engine run. 

“Now I can drive around my street but not yet ready to go far,” he said.

Thetele said he wants to go to a technical and vocational education and training college to study something related to mechanical engineering and also wants to get started on his third car project after learning from his mistakes. 

“My dream is to have my own car brand. I want to have a factory that will allow me to make my dreams come true.”

Since showing off his skills on social media, his story has garnered him many fans. 

“The love I've been receiving from American people is overwhelming. They message me saying they love my work and want to share it with other people.”

His father Leetile said he is proud of his son's accomplishments. 

“I’m very proud of him. He has taken after me and unfortunately when I was younger I did not have support, so I do the little that I can to give him my support,” Thetele senior said .

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