Fixperts live TUT’s core value of caring

23 October 2020

By Bongani Ramatsetse

An inventive foursome from the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Architecture and Industrial Design, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, has joined forces to reach out to a 64-year old pensioner who suffers from muscular dystrophy. Their inventions, aimed at helping the man continue with his woodwork hobby, has also been entered into an international competition, called the Fixperts.

One of the designs that the students made to assist Johan Heunis, who suffers from muscular dystrophy.

The fixperts team Onkogopotse Mothibe (22), Denzill Bothma (21), Henk Blankestijn (22), and Tyler Shibambo (21), all third-year Industrial Design students, have each designed small devices that Johan Heunis can use when he practices his hobby, which includes making beautiful picture frames. 

Muscular dystrophy severely weakens the muscles in Johan’s hands and forearms, which makes it difficult for him to hold onto nails, pins, etc. when practicing his craft.

The fixpert team created four different types of designs that would make things a little easier for Johan, and to keep on enjoying his hobby during his retirement.

A video, showcasing the inventions, has been submitted for the Fixpert Project. 

Fixperts is an international programme that focuses on human-centred design and challenges students to identify a certain hindrance an individual is facing, and come up with solutions. 

The team competed with 30+ universities from around the globe. Not bad, taking into account that they’ve been working together for the first time. 

‘‘It came as a surprise to us, as we didn’t know the project would be entered into an international competition. We feel very blessed and humbled to be recognised on this platform and to have been selected out of many excellent entries,’’ they said. 

Although they didn’t win, they still have big dreams. First, they want to complete their studies and, thereafter, travel abroad, gain experience, and, ultimately, find their own niche design fields.

They thanked their lecturer, Hein Dubery, for his unwavering support, and for pushing international standards. 

To view a video of their inventions, please CLICK ON

Onkogopotse Mothibe, Denzill Bothma, Henk Blankestijn, and Tyler Shibambo, are third-year Industrial Design students who want to make a difference.
 Johan Heunis with one of the frames he made by using the student inventions.

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