Back to School at 84 – the inspiring story of Maruge Kimani!

img_kimani_maruge-300x202It was indeed a stroke of fate for me to have stumbled on the trailer of the movie “The First Grader” – I consider it somewhat divine because I stumbled on it while taking a break, after a long uninterrupted period of work. I asked my wife what she was watching? I think the station was African Magic – a station I rarely ever sit down to watch.

Anyways, I joined her for another 30 minutes or so and what I saw simply blew my mind. By the end of that trailer I said to her; “I must watch that film somehow,” so I went on the search……… I have had the chance to watch the movie and by the time I was done I knew I had to write about it and let more people know about this inspiring movie. I know quite a number of people would have seen this movie but an African proverb I love says:

your morning starts when you wake up!

The First Grader is a true life story of one man who despite his old ripe age of 84 summoned courage and enrolled at a primary Kimani Maruge 5school after the Kenyan Government announced her policy of free education for all. This is not just a movie, it is a true life story and the guy, though late still holds the world record as the oldest guy to have enrolled in a primary school – remarkable and daring indeed!!!

  • Can you imagine the level of doubt in his heart when he took that decision?
  • Can you imagine what shame and ridicule he would have faced?
  • Can you just picture the level of humility required to join kids in a school?

Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge is my man – may his soul rest in peace, Amen! His story is simply inspiring, motivational, heart warming, outstanding and a healthy dose of encouragement that should be watched repeatedly especially when faced with challenges. These are the sort of exemplary stories we should tell to kids and not the lies of showbiz.

The movie was shot in a mountain village in Kenya the film tells the remarkable true and uplifting story of a proud old Mau Mau veteran who is determined to seize his last chance to learn to read and write – and so ends up joining a class alongside six year-olds. Together he and his young teacher face fierce resistance, but ultimately they win through – and also find a new way of overcoming the burdens of the colonial past.

Some questions I had to ponder on:

  1. Would you regard Maruge as a successful man?
  2. Does this not prove that success is indeed subjective?
  3. What will be the most important success factor for a man like Maruge?
  4. Is this not a pointer that you should not blame your environment, the Government or anyone else?
  5. What key decisions are you procrastinating at this point in time?

Go watch the movie and read Maruge baptisedup the story of another great African who took charge of his world at a very old age and achieved his dream. Another interesting feat he achieved was that he got baptised about 3 months before his death at Holy Trinity Catholic Church and took a Christian name, Stephen. It was reported that his teachers kept coming to teach him even as he was close to death.

Isn’t this a remarkable story? What excuse does any young person out there really have? Irrespective of your position or background today, this guy’s story is enough to help you decide to believe solely in God and possibilities that abound when you truly believe!

Maruge! Maruge!! Maruge!!! Rest in Peace Sir…….

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