This lively series from BBC FOUR captures the daily lives, concerns and personalities of young Africans and their teachers in the Ugandan town of Masindi.
African School features two of the town’s schools – Kamurasi Demonstration School (a primary school) led by the resourceful and positive Mr Byoona, and Masindi Secondary School (known as “Massesco”) under the leadership of Mrs. Mukasa (the second youngest female head in the country).
The programmes are stories of celebration and challenge that will rekindle memories of school years: teenage romance, exam pressure, football tournaments, special needs teaching, prefect elections, religion and sex education.
But in Masindi, school life is played out against the challenging issues faced by Uganda. Local HIV rates run at 7% and the conflict in northern Uganda has forced people to flee into Masindi district.
Poverty is a part of daily life for many of the pupils, yet the appetite for life is undiminished. There is a thirst for school, where the chance of education and the opportunities it offers can transform one’s life (some children who cannot afford senior school fees even break in to get to classes).
Coupled with the extraordinary enthusiasm and openness of the pupils and teachers, the series gives an entertaining, refreshing and up-lifting insight into understanding what life is really like in Africa today.
The pupils prepare for their exams and hope their dreams will become reality. Anifa longs to reach secondary school and has been given another chance to qualify. High-flying 18-year-old Esther has high hopes of winning a scholarship to nursing college, while Patrick thinks of nothing more than his pop career.