Kimani Maruge - via Der Spiegel magazine ca 1985

I had the pleasure of watching the film The First Grader, which details the efforts of Kimani NgaNga Maruge to take advantage of the “Free Education for All” which was availed throughout Kenya in 2003.

Little did the authorities know that Maruge, at age 84, wished to take advantage of this opportunity and showed up to enter first grade at Kapkenduiywo Primary School in Langas, Eldoret, 300km west of the Kenyan capital Nairobi. The education of Maruge doesn’t happen without the assistance of his teacher, Jane Obinchu. And within the context of education, we learn a bit of the history of Kenya and their fight for independence from the UK in 1953.

Maruge, was a farmer, and a member of the Kiliku tribe and the Mau Mau movement of the 1950′s which rose up in their effort to garner independence from the UK (which was eventually granted in 1963). Maruge was imprisoned, tortured and watched his wife and two small children be executed by the British and loyalists. This is his story, with numerous teaching points.

– “Freedom is never free” ~ Author unknown – Maruge paid a high price to fight for independence of his Kenya

– Education is important to all — “You stop learning when dirt is in your ears” Jane Obinchu

The film is moving, inspiring and educational. Well worth the investment of 114 minutes of your life.

Here Current TV’s account of Kimani Maruge’s quest for an education that inspired a nation.

Here are a series of interviews with Jan Obinchu conducted by television station K24′s program Capital Talk hosted by Jeff Koinage.

Capital Talk with Jane Obinchu Part 1

Captial Talk with Jane Obinchu Part 2

Capital Talk with Jane Obinchu Part 3

Capital Talk with Jane Obinchu Part 4