The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' a Netflix film, is the directorial debut of ’12 Years A Slave’ actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor and tells an incredible story of innovation and triumph against adversity in Malawi.
Filmed in rural Malawi, the movie dramatises the Kamkwamba family’s struggle to save their starving village whilst prioritising their children’s education, despite financial struggle. Budding 13-year-old engineer William Kamkwamba is forced to leave school after his parents fall behind on enrolment payments. The film homes in on the determination of the young teenager to help his community facing famine. William uses his technical ingenuity to build a windmill and a homemade electrical circuit, in order to supply irrigated water to village so that they can plant crops during the dry season.
Ejiofor explained, "To get to the emotional truth of the story, I spent a lot of time with William. I came to Malawi to experience the book from the actual ground. William, his family and people live these incredibly epic lives and that was something that I really found in the book. William’s story continues to inspire the next generation of innovators in Africa and around the world. Malawians also pitched in with optimism, friendship and encouragement, as soon as we got there and established that we were going to make this film, you just felt the wind at your back."
‘The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind’ encompasses the link between tradition and modernity in rural Africa where parents embrace progress whilst being respectful to traditions, in order to inspire their offspring to succeed and do better despite the circumstances they find themselves in. The victory of this film has to be William’s resourcefulness - where he utilises the little he has available to him in order for not only him to advance but also his whole community. There is true strength in making something out of nothing and the craving of education and betterment despite lack of opportunity, which can be seen all across Africa.