In a small, remote, mountain-top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance at the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge (Oliver Litondo), a Mau Mau veteran in his 80s, who is desperate to learn to read at this stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied—even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside 6-year-olds.
Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris) supports his struggle to gain admission, facing fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste a precious school place on such an old man.
Based on a true story, THE FIRST GRADER explores the remarkable relationships Maruge builds with his classmates some 80 years his junior with vitality and humor. Through Maruge's journey, we are taken back to the shocking untold story of British colonial rule 50 years earlier when Maruge fought for the freedom of his country, eventually enduring the extreme and harsh conditions of the British detention camps.
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