Do you think that difference races have different bone structure? Could one look at a skeleton and tell the race of the owner? Well, remember Cheddar man [Ancient Britons were Black, confirming Cheikh Anta Diop’s Work], and how he was identified thousands of years later via DNA and the facial reconstruction to be a Black man based on his bone structure as well? So the big question then is, if each race has a particular bone structure, doesn’t it mean that things like glasses (eyewear) cannot be one-size-fits-all?
A Ugandan eyewear company thinks so. Wazi Vision is making glass frames affordable for Africans, and to fit African features. Truly, the founder points out true differences that often get ignored: the currently manufactured eyewear out there fits either European or Asian features; leaving marks on our (very African) nose bridges (and the good Lord knows that that’s one feature that is distinctly different from others’), or tightening near the ears, or even sagging down. I love that we have a new generation of ophtamologists, optometrists, and opticians out there who address problems specific to us. Wazi Vision started out to conduct free eye tests, and fit people with affordable eyewear. Wazi Vision now makes frames out of plastic, recyclable materials, cow horns, and much more. I call on others to think outside the box to address our needs.
Wazi Vision conducts many eye test camps in hard-to-reach areas around Uganda. The free services cater to those who ordinarily wouldn’t afford to see an ophthalmologist, yet vision problems are common in the country.
And with a cross-subsidization model, those who are diagnosed with refractive errors get eyewear they manufacture, at affordable prices.
… At the workshop in Kampala, the eye clinic is ever open since the needs are huge: “We know that as we grow there is a reading tendency and most people have been cut off from reading because of presbyopia in most cases and we have encountered a lot of those cases“, ophthalmologist Frank Bogere explains.
When a team of innovators started Wazi in 2016, they wanted to create accessibility to eyewear for marginalized communities.
… Using recycled plastic, it is the first company in East Africa to design and manufacture eyewear. They also use other locally available materials like cow horns, bamboo, and offcuts from clothes like jeans. And, they produce custom-made frames.
It is a source of pride for Geogette Ochieng Ndabukiye, the co-founder of CMO: “Eyewear frames that people wear are not for their facial features. They are mostly made for the European and Asian facial features so you find that when Africans, when Ugandans wear their glasses, over time they begin to squeeze them, they begin to get marks here, the glasses fall, but Wazi here in Uganda is the first company to design and manufacture eyeglasses that are fit for African facial features“.