Director: Chiwetel Ejiofor
This is an inspiring true story of William Kamkwambawho (Maxwell Simba) who was eager to learn in Malawi and who ultimately helped his village by building a wind turbine after reading about it in a library book. He read that this is how electricity comes to the USA and insisted he can build it too using old equipment. However, since equipment also involved destroying his father’s much-needed bike, he had problems with his father who simply did not believe he can create this.
This is a story of extreme poverty and also patriarchy. As we know, in patriarchal society all men dominate women but older men also dominate younger men, which is what happened to the William Kamkwamba when he tried to convince his father to support his idea of bringing electricity and therefore much-needed water to the village suffering from hunger, due to weather that destroyed crops.
We also get to know William’s mother and sister. His mother is a wise woman trying to help her son by supporting him and ultimately it is her who wins father’s support for William and thus the village got saved because she believed in her son.
The part on education is particularly memorable because we learn that education is not free and thus when William’s family loses crops they can no longer pay for education so William gets thrown out of the School. However, he blackmails her sister’s boyfriend to help him access the library and the lady from the library agrees to help. Thus, William got a chance to continue reading and learning.
This is a happy story because William ultimately got the education, not just in Malawi but also internationally. But there are many stories of poverty with no happy ending. With so many in the West taking free access to education for granted or complaining about having to pay loans available to everyone, this film is a reminder what happens when family simply cannot pay for education and there is no help available (the education fee was only $80 but it put William out of School for five years). In other words, the film is a reminder that there are those who suffer poverty and lack of access to anything, which goes beyond our imagination. Therefore, instead of moaning, we could sometimes be happy about what we have and not expect everything for free. At least not until we all manage to get everything for free if the world ever turns to sustainable living and social justice.
This is a well-made, inspiring story of hardship and hope. What is more, this is a Black film made by the Black director. I loved it. Highly recommended.
Wiliam’s full story can be found at this link: http://www.williamkamkwamba.com/about.html
Thank you for reading.