The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) Script

Uh-huh. Move, move, move.


John! John!

No one is responsible for the death of this man.

God alone has decided to take John Kamkwamba.

When God has decided, then we will know the man by what remains.

By the fruit shall we know the tree.

And we have fruit here.

The fruit of the land farmed by John and his younger brother, Trywell, since they returned from Dowa nearly 20 years ago, and worked this land together side by side, these two brothers.

But there are other fruits from John Kamkwamba, many offspring born to him.

His children, led by his eldest son, Jeremiah, who must now take over the work of his departed father.

And if the fruit is good, then it must...


Give me my radio.

Did you fix Mr. Bamusi's?

No, sir. Not yet.

Go and check the roof.

There are heavy cloud formations moving across the southwest...

Morning, Papa. Sleep better?

Put it on his bed.

Good morning. Good morning to you.

Bad dreams again? Yes, hardly slept.

William! You want Shabani to help you?

No, Ma. I'm fine.

William, where's my radio?

Mr. Bamusi, please, just a few more days.

I'm finding the problem. It's not the condenser.

I've told your father. I'm missing my programs, William.

William, if you can't fix it, you have to give Mr. Bamusi back his money.

A few days, Mr. Bamusi. I promise.

He's forcing me to come back from work and talk to my wife and children.


Make sure you wash before you go inside.

Yes, Ma.

Papa! Papa!


Thank you, Papa! Thank you!

Oh, my God! Where is my son? Who has taken my son?

Look at the trousers! It's okay. It's okay.

Who brought this man here?

Doesn't he know that I love my husband?

Leave the boy alone.

Is he a doctor from Lilongwe or an engineer from Chimamba?

It's not too big? It's perfect.

Dear Father, we thank you for all the blessings you have laid on this family.

Please continue to fight for us, so we may endure any hardship.

In Jesus's name, Amen. Amen.

When I was a boy, the elders sometimes hadn't recorded everyone's exact age.

But there was a simple test.

If you could touch your left ear over your head with your right hand, you could go to school.

The first time I tried, I was too small.

I couldn't reach.

Do it.

That was for you to go to primary school, Papa.

Of course I can do it. I know.

Go to school.




Looking sharp, man. You too, man.

I think this is a bit too loose for you.

Room to grow, room to grow.

One phosphorus, one more organic.

You want an ox cart? No, I brought the bike.

There's flooding in Mozambique.


I've heard it on the radio.

Justina's relatives found her a job at the agricultural ministry.

Don't worry.

After university, you'll have no problem finding a job.

You'll do things even I didn't think women could do.

N.U.P. government! N.U.P. government!

Another six months of this bullshit.

You know the president is even coming to Kasungu.


Democracy is just like imported cassava.

It rots quickly.

Of course, Kachokolo is not the wealthiest school in the district, but it's down to each one of you to decide your own level of commitment.

Your own level of what? Commitment!

We have had students excel in their junior certificate and some of them have even gone on to university.

Did these people have two heads?

No, Mr. Headmaster.

What did they not have? Two heads!

They worked hard. Simple as that. What did they do?

Worked hard.

When we have received the full payment for the term, you will receive your library card from Mrs. Sikelo.

What will I give you?

Library cards.

Your library cards will allow you to take some books home overnight.

So, with dedication, there's no reason...

Everybody, go to your form rooms.

Your form teachers will take you through the rest of the day's activities.

Everybody, find your seat. Find your seat.

Your first day of school and the rains have come.

A good sign, I wonder.

My name is Mr. Kachigunda.

I will be your form tutor and science teacher for the year.

Good morning. Good morning, Mr. Kachigunda.

Take your seats.

Okay, let's get right on with it. Basic algebra: x and y.

Mr. Godsten.

Mama said that Justina left for Lilongwe.

Yes, she's gone.

Do you need help here?

Not any we can afford.

Will you let me know if you hear of any work in the market?

Of course.

Mr. Kachigunda.

It's from my sister, Annie, for her university placement.

You're William Kamkwamba?

Yes, sir.

Tell your father to pay the fees.

He's paid, sir.

Only the down payment. There's no grace period here.

Tell your father to pay the rest or you won't be allowed to come to school.

Yes, sir. He'll pay, sir.


William, look who's been waiting.


William, it's too dark.

We have a science test.

Can I use kerosene? There's not enough for studying.

Go and help your father plant.

That's okay.

You need to see me after class.

William, you can do better. Gilbert, I'm not so sure.

That's good.

At least you passed. Sixty-two is not enough.

We need to go to the junkyard. We need to find a way to study at night.

There's been a delivery.

It's just more shit from the tobacco estate.

Anything new?

It's a pump.


When the tobacco estates moved south, it made it hard for us to compete to grow tobacco.

And then they took the trees to burn to dry their tobacco leaves.

We once had a beautiful country that my son will never see.

We have been instructed by the estate to offer 2,000 kwacha per tonne of forestry.

Papa, what's going on? They're taking the trees?

Who said you could come to the meeting?

Gilbert is allowed.

And so? Go!


Of course, if you don't want to take this opportunity, we will be forced to take our business elsewhere.

Let the chief speak. Let the chief speak.

Of course, the estates know that the rains came late this year, and they have come heavy.

They know that there has been flooding in Mozambique.

They know that without finances, we can't build proper defenses, and so we rely on the trees.

They watch for every pressure on us small people, so they can take from us.

The only power we have is to say no.

This is a gross mischaracterization of the estate's agenda.

We want to work with you people.

I'll sign.

Company man, I will sign. For 2,000?

I'll sign. Jeremiah.

Listen to the chief.

Listen to the chief. Two thousand is not enough.

The chief can decide his own. I can decide my own.

This is madness. We need the money. I will sign.

Who else will sign with Jeremiah?

We can only guarantee this price for today.


Think of your families.

I'll sign.

I'll sign.

These trees protect us from flooding.

Why do you think your father never sold them?

We'll make more money this way.

There's flooding in Mozambique.


I have debts in Kasungu.

Then stop gambling.

Don't worry, Uncle Trywell.

I'll support you and your family, just like my father did.

You keep spending your money educating your kids, just so they can leave you.

The smart ones will get the hell out of here.

And I promise you, when I have enough money to go, I'll give you my land.

I don't want your land.

Then my father was right...

not to leave it to you.

There's nothing wrong with gambling.

Look at how these rains have been these last few years.

We're all gambling.

Stay, Khamba.

I asked her why they would send a beautiful woman down here.

She started smiling like this...

So, what happened?

What did you do with her?

You people let children in here now?

He's got brains.

So? How can I talk in front of children?

Which children?

What do you know about women?

I know absolutely everything you know.


What is it?

I told you. These batteries are dying.

You have more? They're all dead.

The game's starting. What do we do now?

Annie, is that you?



Should I take my fees with me to school tomorrow morning?

When the rains stop, and we're sure of the harvest, we'll pay the fees.

But sir... You were at the meeting.

They're taking down the trees.

The land could flood.

Radios use a lot of power, so when the batteries die, there's usually a bit of juice at the end.

So if we put a few dead ones together...


...took place at 8:46 a.m.

And the second plane struck the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

- The American president, George W. Bush... Find the game!

Look! Look!

It's Mr. Kachigunda and your sister.

Did you know?


You can't tell anyone about this. I won't.

What are you going to do?

You can't just let him get away with it.

What if he disgraces her and tells everybody?

Let me check the car battery.

It's dead. Let me check.

Is that how she was able to attend senior classes?

What do you mean?

He was her teacher.

He must have helped her.

That's why she got the grades for university, and we're struggling even to get a junior certificate.

She got good grades because she studied at night.

I remember. We had had money for kerosene back then.

You could use this.

To do what?

If you break his bike, you think he'll walk all the way to the village?

It's this one. Yeah, that's it.

I can't. Huh?

Take the light.

Take it, and then you'll be able to study at night.

It's not coming off.

Turn the pedal.


Start again.


I had 5,200. Is that everything?

William's schooling?

After the harvest.

He needs schooling, Trywell.

You want him spending time with those useless boys?

His mind is just like Annie's.

Like my mother's. Your mother's? That mad woman.

Was it madness when she came and built the extension?

Making bricks all day at her age is what killed her.

And we still use it.

The children get it from her.

From my side.

Not from mine?

You're clever enough. You found me, didn't you?

That was just luck.

Just because you were in the marketplace that time.

We need to save everything we can.

There's no money for school fees.

Not right now.

Phiri, Nyangu, Kamchulu, Muzombe, Lukwa, Kamanga, Kamkwamba, and Nkhoma.

If your name has been called, please stay here.

Everyone else, go to class.

Your school fees have still not been paid.

There is no grace period.

Please go home and collect the fees if you wish to continue your studies.


I'll go to the auction house. I'll talk to Daniel Ngwata.


You haven't seen him for years.

Maybe he can talk to the estate.

How do you know this man, Papa?

An old friend.


So long. Too long. Good to see you.

Is this big man William? Wow. It's been too long.

This way, please.

I have some small savings from when we were in business in Dowa.

But I can use some of it to buy back the trees on Kamkwamba land for the price they were bought for.

They won't do that.

No, if you tell them the land is flooding.

We're losing the harvest.

Trywell, they won't do that. Why would they do that?

Jeremiah sold the trees.

Why didn't your brother leave you that land?

You worked hard on that land. I don't know.

He should have left it to you to take care of the family.

It was John's land to leave to whoever he wants to leave it to.

The Pope.

The Pope.

That's what we used to call your father back then.

The most honest man in all of Dowa market.

We used to laugh at him because what good can come from an honest businessman?

We used to laugh at him, until he had carried off the most beautiful woman in the whole place.

For farming.

For farming.

How is Agnes?

Can you help us, Daniel?

The rains, Trywell.

What can anybody do about these rains?

This year, the land is too wet. Next year, too dry.

You can't do business like that.

All indications have been that the grain harvest would be good this year.

Even the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, told the government to sell all the excess grain to Mozambique and Kenya.

And so they did.

Now what's happened? The floods have come.

And no one knows if there is enough grain in this whole country to protect the farmers.

The government will protect the farmers.

Terrorists have attacked America.

You must have heard it.

All the markets are in free fall.

All these government debts being recalled.

Forget about the trees.

Forget about the savings.

When these rains stop and the sun returns, Malawi is preparing for a very long hungry season.

The roots are all weak, and now the sun is drying out the land, but when the president comes to Kasungu, there will be journalists there, and other chiefs.

You could say something.

We can't threaten the president.

It's not threats.

We have to protect ourselves.

You just let them know that we know what is happening.

Do you think the government will leave everyone here to die?

I don't know, but why should we sit here waiting to find out?

There was a problem before, 20 years ago.

People ran out of food.

Chief fed them with what he could.

He saved a lot of people.

He'll make sure it doesn't get that bad again.

And if our harvest is okay, we'll finish paying for William's schooling.

And university?

I don't know.

How did you know Papa was the man you'd marry?

Is someone talking to you?

No, I'm just curious.

There's no one for you in Wimbe.

I know.

Annie, we'll get you off to university.

You won't just be a wife and mother.

No one's been talking?

No one's been talking.

I found another battery.

It's dead, but if you take out the bad cells, and connect the positive and negative with this one, we can make a good battery.

But it needs to charge. It needs electricity.

With electricity, we can fix the pump.

We never know what's happening with the rain.

What are you doing?

All I have to do is skip assembly.

I'll only go to science class for now.

Class, make sure your homework of exercise three is on my desk at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Mr. Kachigunda.


When you turn the wheel on your bike, the light shines.

Yes. How?

A dynamo.

How does a dynamo work?

There's a little man on the inside who rubs his hands together...

It's, uh, magnets.

Where can I find a dynamo? You should try the trading center.

I'm not sure if they'll have one there. Mine came from Lilongwe.

Well, what would I need to make one?

I'm not sure exactly. A few things.

Uh, a magnet, wiring, something to break the magnetic field.

If you try the library, maybe you will find something there.

I don't have a library card.

Because your parents haven't paid.

How do you know I will not tell Mr. Ofesi that you're coming to my class?

Because I can keep a secret, sir.

A secret?

Yes, sir.

There is a man who comes to my village to see my sister...


Mr. Kachigunda. Mrs. Sikelo.

This is William Kamkwamba. He's part of my science class.

He's no longer a student here, but he and I have been working on various experiments, and I'd like for him to continue his studies here in the library.

Does Mr. Ofesi know about this? Of course.

Mr. Ofesi's only stipulation is the boy is not to be taught or assisted by you or any other teacher.

It's important to him that the boy working here is not common knowledge.

He himself would prefer not to be reminded of the fact.

Of course.

Good luck. Thank you, sir.

Perhaps you should sit away from the window.

Ms. Sikelo.

Mr. Kamkwamba.

Are there any books on dynamos?


Magnets and electricity?

Is this in your class grade?

Maybe I can work with a dictionary.

All the senior textbooks are on the bottom shelf on the left.

Mr. Kamkwamba? Did you find what you were looking for?

Welcome, Mr. President. Thank you very much. How are you?

Thank you for coming Mr. President. Welcome.

Thank you, thank you.

Clap your hands and cheer.

People, I'm saying N.U.P.


Say it three times.

N.U.P.! N.U.P.! N.U.P.! Government!

Uh, but first of all, I'd like to thank you, Your Excellency, for honoring the inauguration of Chief Mamba.

Can you please stand, Chief?

Yeah! Yeah!

And now I'll leave the mic to Chief Wimbe.

Your Excellency, may I first congratulate you on your achievements in government, and state that I hope in the coming election, you will emerge victorious.

You have been a key factor in our peace and stability, when we have seen the responsibility of government devolve into chaos across Africa.

However, the recent floods have created a dangerous situation.

In many regions, we already know the harvest will fail.

We know the economic machinery is not pointed towards us, but we are now a democracy.

We are prepared to make our voices heard in the ballot box.

What is this man trying to do? We need an assurance of emergency grain.

We need to know any food issue will be slaughtered in its infancy.

We need a government prepared to support its people.

I want to vote for this government, but cannot vote for any man who will turn two blind eyes to a catastrophe.

Democracy at work. Freedom of expression.

Well, His Excellency will address this misunderstanding, but for now, let's have some music.


Father! Father!



Father! Father!

Father. Father!




Why don't they take him to a clinic?

He's safer here.

Would they come back?

We don't know.

You have to be a man now, William.

No one is coming to help us.

I need you to work with me on this harvest.

For every piece of grain we can get.

Yes, sir.


Thank you.

Is that all there is?

It's not even five bags.

Sixty days.

Sixty to seventy.

With a year till the next harvest.

It's not enough.

We have savings.


It's not enough.

The government is denying a food crisis.


They won't admit it's happening.

The corrupt government is only interested in securing victory in the coming election.

We demand assurances from our leadership.

Tell us who will support our communities when the food runs out?

There's an opposition rally in Nkhata Bay.

They're getting a truck. Another rally?

The opposition can put pressure on the government.

Where can we get the best price? I'll take care of it.

Uh-huh. You're going?


The government doesn't want us to make noise.

The opposition people need our support.

Make noise here if you want to make noise. Stay with your family.

We'll be back tonight. Tomorrow at the latest.

We need to make sure people know what's happening here.

So, you use the windmill to charge the battery?

And the battery powers a pump.

We can plant in the dry season. Two harvests.

We can plant now and we won't run out of food.

With Mr. Kachigunda's dynamo, I can do it.

Go to his class.

Ask him.

I don't want you staying in this village anymore.

Not with all of these problems.

Where do you want me to go?

I have people in Mangochi.

We can travel there and marry.

You want me to run away?

You want me to disgrace my family?

I love you. I don't know what's more important than this.

We can come back when I can pay them a bride price.

We'll do everything right then. I promise.

Can you pay them a bride price now?

There's no money for teachers.

So many students are leaving because of the harvest.

They may close the school.

There's nothing here for us. There's nothing in Wimbe.

Nothing for you.

You should go back to school. I don't care about school.

We can leave now. I can arrange it. Annie.

Annie. How can I go to Mangochi?

I can't even speak Yao.

They speak English in Mangochi, and you can learn Yao.

Class, I'll be taking your science lesson this morning.

William Kamkwamba.

Stand up.

My father will pay, sir.

You are stealing from the family of every remaining student in this school.

My father will pay, sir.

You're stealing from myself and from every member of faculty.

My father will pay.

You're expelled from Kachokolo, and you will never be allowed to study here again or any school in this district.

Collect your things and go. Mr. Ofesi.

Collect your things and go!

There's nothing I can do about it, Mrs. Sikelo.

I cannot ignore him sneaking into the school.

But he was not sneaking into the school.

Don't you see, Mr. Ofesi?

Can you not see that he's been sneaking out of the fields?

Have you seen your sister?


They caught you at school?

You knew I was going? Of course.

They expelled me.



What's happening? They're taking grain to Chamama. To sell.

It's a government truck. They're not leaving us to starve.

Buy grain. As much as you can.

It's government price, not market price. It's cheaper.

Aah! No, take the bike.

Take the bike.

Khamba, stay! It's too far.

Khamba, stay.

Grain! Grain! Grain!



Let's go back.

Where were you? Seeing a friend.

Which friend?

You think I don't see you sneaking out of here?

At night even?

I've told you... I know.


There's no one for me in Wimbe.

There's nothing for me in Wimbe.

So if there's nothing for me in Wimbe, why should I stay in Wimbe?

How can I stay?

Who are you going with? That's not what I'm saying.

You want to disgrace your family?

You don't understand.

What do you think you know that I don't?

Madam, I haven't eaten in two days.

Get out.

I don't want to hurt anyone.

They said to see the Chief...

but he's dying.

How much can they have? There were only two trucks.

Back in line! Back in line!

There will not be enough for everyone today.

I can only give you fifteen kilos.

Trywell! Trywell!

I told you not to go!

What happened? I told you not to go!

I told you not to go! Where's William?

I don't know.

William! Where's William?

We can't just stay here. We'll need to open the door.

You'll have to run.


Can you help me?


We can have one meal a day.

We should decide which one.

This is crazy.



You can't sleep on an empty stomach.




I like breakfast.

My God! Annie!

You don't raise your voice to your father.

He left us here.

We could have been raped and killed. If it wasn't for William...

Your father was trying to save us.

There's no food! And so?

You think I'd let you starve to death?

When I cut off my own arm to feed you, then you'll know that you're my child.

Tomorrow, we'll dig ridges and start planting.

The ground is too hard. It's the dry season.

Nothing will grow.

Then... we pray for rain.

Dear Father, fight for this family.

Bring us rain in this dry season... Trywell.


Eat, Papa.

If you give any food to that dog, I'll break your neck.

Annie. Annie.

What is it? I need you to speak to Mr. Kachigunda.

I know you're talking to Mr. Kachigunda.

I need to use the dynamo from his bike.

The dynamo? You have to help me, Annie.

Tell him he has to let me use the dynamo.

I can fix a water pump. I know how to do it.

I can bring water. I can make rain.

But I need the dynamo.

Mama, what happened?

She's gone with teacher.

Did you see her? Did you see her?

No, sir.

Are you lying to me?

Where did they go? I don't know, sir.

Bring me my daughter, William.

I don't know, sir. I don't know! Bring me my daughter!

"One less."

She says, "One less."

"One less mouth to feed."

I'll do everything I can to find an address, but right now...

We have no money to go to Mangochi.

I'll do my best to locate Mr. Kachigunda.

Your best?

I'm sorry, we're closing the school for the moment.

There are not enough students or teachers.

Is Ms. Sikelo still here? No.

This hunger will be the last one, for me and my family, believe me.

We'll never go through something like this again.

He's starving himself.

Killing himself.

So he doesn't take food from these children.

Mrs. Kamkwamba...

When we were first married, we promised each other that we would never pray for rain like our ancestors.

We said we were modern people, and our children would go to school.

And this is here that Annie met teacher, and we paid for it.

And you even expelled my son. Not me, Mrs. Kamkwamba.

The government... Which government?

The government that beat our chief?

Even if they prayed for rain, the ancestors survived because they stayed together.

When do we stay together, Mr. Headmaster?

What can I do, Mrs. Kamkwamba?

Can I use the library?

What's all this?

An experiment.

In America, electricity made from wind.

With electricity, we can make water.

We're going to build a windmill.

We need to build a small one first, to see if it works.

All I ate today was pigskin from the drum.

Don't waste my time.

What do we do?

It has a motor inside. It turns the cassette tape.

How are you doing with those blades?

I'm almost there.

Okay, open the door.

♪ It's a clever bird ♪

♪ It builds its nest ♪

♪ To protect the others... ♪


I want to show you something.

Can you hear it?


What is it?

It's wind energy.

The blades make electricity, and that powers the radio.

I see.

I want to build a big one. A big one could power a water pump.

It means that even if the land is dry, we can still plant.

It can do that?


But to build a big one, I'll need something to help turn the blades.

If I could use your bike, it would work.

The bike?

It would work.

How long would you need it for?

I'd need to remove the wheels and cut the frame.

You couldn't use it as a bike anymore.



Have you seen what's happening, William?

Yes, sir.

People are dying. Do you understand? This will help everyone.

Get this stupidness away from me.

Papa... Get this stupidness away from me!

Papa, I need to take the bike so I can bring electricity.

With electricity, I can make water. I can make rain.

Are you still talking?

There are things I know that you don't know.

Because you can make toys?

Because of school.

From now on, you get up with me first thing in the morning, understand?

You help me build these ridges.

Forget about school! Forget about the library!

I don't want to see you near this foolishness again!

I was wrong!

It's damn well time you learned how to farm!

Plow the land!

Plow the land!

Are you okay? It's too hot.

Look at the sky.

It won't rain. It won't rain for months.

Do you think the Gule Wamkulu will come when my father dies?

Even though there's a hunger?

They're supposed to come when a chief dies.

Let's go. Where?

What's happening?

We have to go north while we still can. There's nothing left.

I need your help.

If we stay, we die. No.

We find another bike and we build the windmill.

You're mad. A bike from where?

There's no one in the trading center. Everyone is leaving the village.

It was a toy, William. It's not a toy. I showed you.

What if there's no food in the north?

You'll die.

If you're sure it will work, William, why don't you just take your father's bike?

Why don't you just take it?


What's this?

We need to take the bike, Papa.

You want to fight me?

We don't want to fight you, Trywell. We just want you to give William the bike.


Get away from my house.

He can bring water. You say.

I can bring water.

All year round. You're a big man now, huh?

Big men.

Fight me.

Do it!

I'm your father!

I'm your father!


Come with us, William. Let's leave.

I can't.

I have to go home.

I need to be with my father.

Khamba, come.



He tried to fight me, with his friends, for the bike.

Will you give it to him?

Of course not.

How much should I lose, Trywell?


Everywhere I followed you, I lost something.

My parents, when I came here.

Then the land.

Then we lost Annie.

You're blaming me?

I'm not blaming you.

I'm asking you.

When do we stop losing?

Nothing we have done has worked.

John said we'd grow tobacco.

Tobacco that looked like milk chocolate,

for 2,000 kwacha a kilo.

I'm sorry, Papa.

Sometimes it's dreams,

and sometimes it's just lies.

It's not a dream, Papa.

I'm not dreaming.

That's why he didn't leave the land to me.

He didn't trust me.

He never did.

He knew I'd fail.

Like I have.

You didn't fail me. Never.

I went to school.


Yes, sir.

From wind?

It can work,

if you help me.


You can bring it up. I'm ready.

Have you got it?

Be careful, William.

It needs to charge. The battery needs to charge.

Go to the chief's house and bring seeds. We'll plant vegetables.

We'll get through while we wait for the grain to grow.

Go to them, Gilbert.

Mrs. Sikelo wants to bring the new government's representative for the schools district to see the windmill.

She says there may be a scholarship for a school in Madisi.

I think I should stay here.

At least till Annie comes back.

I think I should stay and help you with the land.

I've been thinking about this machine, William.

I've been thinking about how it will carry you away and keep you here at the same time.

Because no one can see this thing and not think of you.

No one would want to.

Wherever you are.

Go to school.