When the Kenyan government announces a 2002 proposal offering free primary education for all, one man takes the matter seriously and begins a life long journey towards educational freedom. Upon viewing “The First Grader,” one would think that those beautiful children were the only ones made to occupy a room set up for smaller bodies that are small enough to fit at small desk. A space is found by teacher Jane in an already overcrowded school.
A desk is found to seat a tall 84 year old man, a man who calls himself, Kimani Ng’ ang’a Maruge.Â Strong willed and full of a willingness to learn, Maruge defies all odds as he infects students, parents and the Kenyan school system with his positive outlook and steadfast persistence.Â Director, Justin Chadwick ((The Other Boleyn Sister) and writer, Anne Peacock, take us into shadowed memories of Maruge’s life during his time with the Mau, Mau.
The movie is reflective of the troubled society of Kenya during the 50’s.Â Chadwick offers emotional salve for those audiences who know of the Mau, Mau and the part played by the British government of those times.Â Justice is served when Maruge makes history becoming the oldest man to ever speak at the United Nations. Â Â Sam Feuer pronounced ( foyer) is no stranger to acting, producing and writing.
After meeting his would be partner, producer, President and CEO of “Sixth Sense Productions” Richard Harding of Sierra Leone, Sam proves that global “partnering is a perfect fit for this beautiful story of a man’s fortitude, courage and ability to overcome all odds.Â Â The character of “Teacher Jane” is played by the talented, British actor,Â Naomie Harris who gives a stunning performance using her native accent to enhance the Kenyan dialect spoken whilst playing the role of Jane Obinchu. Harris doubles her role as wife and career woman.Â Husband, Charles Obinchu is romantically played by actor, Tony Kgoroge.
“The First Grader” is a riveting account of the plight of freedom and the price of what one pays for it.Â “Stones In The Color of Rare and Ankh Entertainment Productions feature this (3) part interview with Producer’s, Sam Feuer and Richard Harding along with a short clip with actor, Oliver Musila Litondo.Â Stones In The Color Of Rare had a chance to meet Mr. Litondo and his lovely wife, companion and confidante, Beldina Auma.Â Mr Litondo is an honored actor nominated for “Best Actor” at AARP AWARDS and for that same award at the NAACP AWARDS.Â
The lovely couple were in attendance at the
Pan African Film Festival.