AfREC in partnership with the Association of Malawians in Australia (AMIA) screened an important new Netflix film set in Malawi, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, on the evening of Friday 29 March 2019 at UWA. The free event invited the public to contribute to an African-themed potluck dinner before the screening and was part of wider WA Harmony Week activities.
The film is based on the inspiring true story of Malawian William Kamkwamba. It tells the story of how Kamkwamba, as a 13-year-old boy kicked out of school because his family couldn’t pay school fees, later sneaks into the school library and learns how to make a windmill that draws water from a well and therefore saves his village from famine by irrigating arid crop fields. The film weaves together powerful themes including climate change, land degradation, resources governance, politics, poverty, family, community, education, and scientific innovation. The relevance of a number of these themes has been highlighted recently following the devastating local and regional impacts of Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The film is the directorial debut of Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is renowned for his portrayal of Solomon Northup in the Oscar winning film 12 Years a Slave. Chiwetel was keen to make the movie as authentic as possible and filmed it in Malawi in Chichewa, the local language. It stars Ejiofor alongside Maxwell Simba and Lily Banda.
The movie was well-received by the audience. Some of the feedback after the screening included whether it had won awards; that it was inspiring and magical; and that the acting was great! The movie is available to watch on Netflix. AfREC would like to thank Netflix for granting us permission to screen the film for free.