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MAMA KUTI

 

The Nigerian government tried to stop her from becoming the first global feminist icon, but the ordinary people of Nigeria still keep her story alive.

 

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti battled imperialism and corruption, fought for women's rights and ultimately negotiated Nigeria's Independence from the United Kingdom. Funmilayo was one of the world's first feminists and travelled the world to organise women's unions until she was denied a visa to visit the USA and banned from traveling by the Nigerian government. She died after being thrown from a window when one-thousand soldiers raided her son's recording studio. Those responsible for her killing were never brought to justice, protected by their wealth and political power. Because of this, Funmilayo's story has remained untold, until now.

 

Her legacy lives on through Nigerian market women, all those who benefit from Independence and the contemporary writers and activists of present-day Nigeria. Her famous musical family still spread her message.

 

We trace her origins from her home town of Abeokuta to discover the source of her fighting spirit. Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, sets the story, establishing her as one of the first leading feminists in the world. Fela Kuti and his sons, Femi and Seun, have celebrated her life through their music and, like her, have constantly fought against corrupt governments. Femi and Seun carry her story through to the present and explain how it has affected their world and the lives of thousands of people in Nigeria today.

 

We trace her origins from her home town of Abeokuta to discover the source of her fighting spirit. Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, sets the story, establishing her as one of the first leading feminists in the world. Fela Kuti and his sons, Femi and Seun, have celebrated her life through their music and, like her, have constantly fought against corrupt governments. Femi and Seun carry her story through to the present and explain how it has affected their world and the lives of thousands of people in Nigeria today.

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NO ORDINARY LIFE

Rescued from brothels in India, horses pave their way to a new life.

8,000 feet up in the Nilgiris mountains of southern India, 3 special girls are learning to live a new life. It couldn't be further from where they were reared in the slums of Mumbai and Maharashtra, where they were trafficked or sold to brothels by their own families. A shockingly common practise in India and deeply ingrained in the cultures of certain castes, these girls are forced into a life of abuse and manipulation. They quickly become hardened and lose the ability to love `and be loved. The protective barriers they build around themselves also make their potential to return to a more normal way of life much more difficult. They have been deeply damaged, both physically and psychologically.

No Ordinary Life tells the very personal stories of 3 girls who were forced into the world of vice and subsequently rescued. We trace their stories from the brothels of Mumbai and Pune to the evocative mountain location of Ooty where they are being helped to reinvent their lives. At the centre of their world are a group of rescued horses, who in a different way have also been abused. They work together with the horses as a means of re-building trust firstly in animals, then in humans; they expand their self confidence and ultimately learn how to love other people. They are at different points in their journey of recovery and we will follow their progress over a one year period. We will also travel to their home villages to meet members of their families, to the locations of the brothels where they were forced to work and we will look at the other aspects of their rehabilitation such as their education and jewelry making enterprise. This is an uplifting, emotional story about a unique way of workng with animals to help build a new and successful life.

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4 TAXIS: ONE WORLD

4 uniquely different lives, ultimately sharing the same needs and desires.

In Madras in southern India, Vijay wakes up in the small bedroom he sleeps in with his wife, son and mother. He goes into the alleyway that he shares with five other families in the slum and uses the shared tap to wash himslef. He returns to the room where he sits on the floor and eats his breakfast. Then he gets his 4 year old son to wash his teeth and bath in the alleyway and put on his school uniform. He says goodbye to his wife and mother and rushes with his son to his auto rickshaw taxi and artfully winds his way off through the chaos of the slum streets towards his son's school.

So begins a day in the life of one of four taxi drivers in 4 cities in the world – Mexico City, Mexico; Lagos, Nigeria; Dublin, Ireland and Madras, India. Each a unique character and orator of life, a receiver of very personal confessions, a moderator on worldly matters, a radiator of the cities' soul, a cultural ambassador and a social magnate. Each one with very special insights into the life of the city and country in which they live, a real sense of pride of place and the energy and motivation to survive in a difficult world.

4 disparate lives living worlds apart. Their cultural differences are enormous as is the way they lead their lives. They share a real passion for their work and the people they come in contact with. What's more their needs and desires are so similar – money, love, food, happiness, comfort, sex and fulfilment. They share amazing insights into life's hidden secrets. Ultimately their similarities far out weigh their differences.

 

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