Ablaye lives in Niary Tally, a suburb of Dakar whose name in English is “Two Roads”. The busy town does indeed have two two-lane streets in its center, and they bring many people in and out of the town. Going to Ablaye’s place, one mostly take a Car Rapid, a kind of exotic yellow and blue van that has been around since the 1960s and has since become part of the identity of our capital city.
Ablaye lives in this little community with his mother, Mrs Ndiaye, a young woman who sells Café-Touba (locally brewed popular coffee) and breakfast in Taggat, the Media school where Ablaye is being trained. Their tiny three-room flat, set on the ground floor of an old house, is fitted with one main equipment: a little TV set. The channels are provided by local operators called Réseau Cablé (Cable Network), who broadcast almost all foreign channels and whose targets are the people living in the suburbs. This is greatly welcomed by Ablaye, who spends most of his after school time zapping from one channel to another, watching and enjoying tv programs. That’s the main hobby of this 20-year-old-boy, who has no other alternative to sitting on a mattress in their living room, his toe on the remote controller of the TV set.
On a typical school day his mother takes Ablaye out in his wheelchair, pushing from their house in Niary Tally to Taggat Media school, which is a long distance. ‘It’s been like this ever since he was admitted to this school, with the help of Kalidou Kassé, the owner of the school. We are just living together, the two of us,’ Ablaye’s mother explained.
Fortunately for his mother, Ablaye is not difficult at all. An intelligent boy, he works with great diligence at school and does all his homework before going to bed. He is very friendly with his fellow students, and he is always ready to tease them and laugh heartily.
This was how Fary Sakho, the student filmmaker who produced the film about Ablaye, discovered her unique classmate. As time passed, she noticed Ablaye’s inspiring courage and unbending will to learn all of his lessons and do assignments just like any other student. ‘It’s like he does not see his disabilities. His courage is an inspiring model to all of us. We have all learned something about ourselves from him’, Fary Sakho says.
These feelings were among the main reasons why Fary wanted to make a film about Ablaye. ‘I immediately felt like telling the people about the courage of the boy, sharing with them this inspiring tale of determination and willpower,’ Fary explained, when I asked her about her motivation to make the film.
‘I think that Ablaye is the kind of person you meet once, and they brand you for the rest of your life with their courage, their sociability and their love for life.’ Fary added. ‘And because of that, he is my hero,’ she concluded.
After graduation Fary left Taggat media school, but she will never forget Ablaye, the young man who helped her see life from a different angle.