The First Grader


African storytelling at its best.

FILM: In a world where education isn’t always at the forefront, but should be, this is a story of heartache, hope and, finally, huge inspiration.

The title points to an old man who is able to see the end of his life, wants to learn to read so that he can read something that’s extraordinarily precious to him by himself. It’s that old story of how others have to act as your interpreter of the world because you cannot read.

Argentina’s The Station dealt with a similar story and a more recent book, Shakespeare on Robben Island, also tells of the horror of indivduals who have never been taught to read or write.

Think about it, your passage in life and how difficult it would be if you could not read.

But this is the story of one man’s quest and how he turns some people around him to stand up and fight for his cause even when it is not the popular thing to do.

More and more, it is those people, the ones who believe and are willing to stand up and deliver, who will make a change that will affect real people and their lives.

With a sterling cast and many familiar South African faces, it’s a story that challenges as you root for Maruge, a man who fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he has a right to an education.

He struggles to find someone to take on his cause, but when he does, these two forces are enough to break through all the barriers.

It’s a fight to the end and well worth watching.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The making of... – Diane de Beer