The Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram explicitly focuses its violent attacks on schools and universities—in fact, the very name of this extremist group translates literally as “Western education is forbidden.” Here, Rahima Gambo exposes the experiences and traumas of Nigerian students who want to keep on studying despite the atrocities. The filmmaker traveled to educational institutions in the three most troubled provinces of her country, and found out for herself how young people are trying to finish school under the constant threat of violence.
They seem much like any other students who spend their time at lectures, going out and planning for the future. But living life with a target on your back is bound to have consequences. Many of the students and teachers who appear in the film have experienced violence up close, and have seen friends kidnapped or killed. In this layered, four-part multimedia narrative, Gambo captures their experiences in words, photos and films—and places them alongside prints from Nigerian schoolbooks. An accompanying short film juxtaposes seemingly carefree moments in the lives of the young students and glimpses of their darkest memories.