He Named Me Malala

The young heroine and champion for education and human rights, Malala Yousefzai, is all set to go to university. As she decides between two of the best educational establishments in the world, Stanford and Oxford, a documentary about her life was released at the London film festival last week.

He named me Malala gives an intimate and everyday insight into the Pakistani school girl’s life.

Filmed over 18 months in Britain, Kenya, Nigeria, Abu Dhabi and Jordan, the documentary by American filmmaker Davis Guggenheim portrays Malala’s life before the attempted assassination in October 2012, when Taliban gunmen opened fire on Malala, who was 14 at the time, as she sat on her school bus.

Since then the the youngest-ever Nobel prize laureate has stood as a role-model for young girls everywhere, campaigning for the right to have an education and to speak one’s mind and the film shows her visiting refugee camps and delivering speeches on the power of education, as well as sharing the things that make her connect with other teenagers, like her favourite book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, her passion for cricket and her admiration for Brad Pitt and, touchingly, her close relationship with her father.

Unlike the aspirations of the average teenager, however, she dreams of returning to the Swat valley and becoming the prime minister of Pakistan.

When asked about whether she was afraid for her daughter when she publically denounced Taliban violence in her Diary of a Pakistani School girl, Malala’s mother, Toor Pekai Yousefzai, told the audience at the Women in the World event in London last Friday, “Sometimes when I worried, she would tell me, ‘I can’t stop going to school, I can’t stop talking, because I am a girl and we cannot go back to the ages when they buried girls alive. I want to progress. I want to speak,” she also added that she could not “stop a girl like her from speaking up”.

We’re glad she didn’t.

He Named Me Malala is released in Britain on 6 November

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