Monday, February 13, 2012
Tonight I watched a delightful film based on a true story, from National Geographic, titled THE FIRST GRADER, about an 84-year-old ex-Mau Mau freedom fighter in Kenya who decides he wants to go to school and learn how to read, sparking resistance from the community and politicians, but at the same time inspiring fellow Kenyan adults and children to reach for education. After the government declares universal free education for all, a man who gave his life for freedom, saw his wife and children murdered by the British, and spent at least a dozen years in concentration camps, where he was brutally tortured to force him to renounce his allegiance to the rebellion, Muruge wins the ear and heart of a young, popular primary school teacher, who lets him into her class. Gradually his classmates come to love him, and respect him, and he becomes somewhat of a celebrity; some believe he is being paid off, but that is not the case. Both he and his teacher stubbornly fight for his right to learn. This is a nice movie about the power of reading, the willpower and determination of some to gain knowledge---no matter their age, the residual affects of colonialism and imperialist barbarism, continued tribal conflicts in Africa, and the bravery of many to continue to improve and help their country advance. There are many light-hearted headnods to Obama's eventual presidency (Kenyan roots, and all).