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The First Grader

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The First grader


In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge, an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties who is desperate to learn to read at this late 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.

Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials.

Full of vitality and humour, the film explores the remarkable relationships Maruge builds with his classmates some eighty years his junior. Through Maruge's journey, we are taken back to the shocking untold story of British colonial rule fifty years earlier where Maruge fought for the freedom of his country.

The First Grader is a heart warming and inspiring tale of one man's fight for what he believes is his right in order to overcome the burdens of his past.


Type of film
Running Time
88 mins
Justin Chadwick
Joe Oppenheimer, Anant Singh, Helena Spring, Norman Merry
Joe Oppenheimer, Anant Singh, Helena Spring, Norman Merry
Paul Knight
Ann Peacock
Director of Photography
Rob Hardy
Principal Cast
Oliver Litondo, Naomie Harris


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Last updated 14th September 2010

Production Company

Origin Pictures
23 Denmark Street
London WC2H 8NH

T +44 (0)207 836 6818

Sixth Sense Productions
Suite 583
269 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills
CA 90212


Goldcrest Films International

T +44 (0)20 7437 8696