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9mobile fights illiteracy with short film, Closed



In furtherance of its commitment to promoting education and raising the level of literacy across the nation, the telecommunications company, 9mobile, has gone one step further, with the production of a short film titled Closed. The film, focused on fighting illiteracy, has been aired on the DSTV platform.

Closed is produced as part of the footprint of the telecom’s flagship pan-African literary prize, 9mobile Prize for Literature, and it seeks to raise awareness of illiteracy as a huge societal problem, as well as inspire collective positive action to stem it.

The production and airing of the short film also further affirms 9mobile’s unwavering commitment to innovation in solving social problems, one of which is low literacy as affirmed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which estimated that over 65 million people in Nigeria are illiterate.


While Speaking on Closed, Vice President Marketing, 9mobile, Adebisi Idowu, said the short film points to the power of words and how they unlock meaning for people who can read.

“At 9mobile, we recognise that the ability to read and appreciate the written stories around us is a gift that over 65 million Nigerians are deprived of. Celebrating literacy begins with acknowledging this issue and that a lot needs to be done to address the problem in Nigeria. That is why, annually, we celebrate the written word through the 9mobile Prize for Literature, the first ever pan-African prize celebrating first time writers of published fiction books. The prize aims to serve as a platform for the discovery of new, creative talent out of the continent and invariably promote the burgeoning publishing industry in Africa.”

Idowu added that 9mobile is committed to continuously innovate ways to reduce illiteracy in Nigeria, thereby supporting government in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning.

Closed tells the story of a young man – Juwon, an illiterate but skillful welder, who is cut off from the world around him and unable to appreciate a precious gift he holds just because he cannot read. But as the story unfolds, viewers step into his world, cheering him on as he overcomes the taunts of primary school pupils to learn the rudiments of the English language, until he eventually conquers this challenge in a dramatic way, and acquires the ability to read.

Juwon’s transformation is profound, as the messages written on billboards along the highways that he commutes to and from work, which previously appeared cryptic to him, suddenly become clear.

An elated Juwon reads one of the billboards, which has the inscription: ‘See the world differently’ and then he frantically pulls out of his pocket the photograph of a young lady, which had triggered his pursuit of knowledge, and realises that he can finally read the message written on it: ‘I love the man I see in you!”

That moment sparks a flurry of emotions as the film ends with the message: ‘For 65 million Nigerians, illiteracy robs the world of meaning. Spare a thought for them.’

Since it made its debut, Closed has won accolades as a masterpiece in creativity. The film won four awards – three Gold and a Bronze – at the 12th Annual Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) Awards held recently. They include Gold in Film Craft – Best Production and Art Direction, Gold in Film – Corporate Image, and Gold in Film – Promotions Editing as well as Bronze in Film Craft – Best Film Editing.

Earlier in the year, it also received a resounding applause at the grand finale and award ceremony of the 2016 edition of the 9mobile Prize for Literature, where it was premiered.

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