TV Show

SHOWMAX SET TO PREMIERE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY SERIES “FREEMAN”

African streaming service Showmax is gearing up for the highly anticipated release of its Original documentary series, “Freemen,” an exploration of the Igbo Apprenticeship System, set to premiere on February 12, 2024. This groundbreaking seven-part reality series coincides with the relaunch of the new Showmax app, marking a significant month for the streaming platform.

“Freemen” unfolds in four distinctive parts, providing a comprehensive exploration of the Igbo Apprenticeship System. These segments include the Pick-Up and Negotiations Period, Trial Period, Solidification of Agreement and Work Period, and Settlement Period. Each section offers a unique perspective on the apprenticeship journey, shedding light on the intricacies of this traditional practice.

In the teaser trailer, it features  businessman Dr. Anene Okeke seeking parental consent to mentor a young apprentice in the city.

The documentary delves into the Igbo Apprenticeship System, locally known as Igba Boi. The Igbo Apprenticeship System has been a longstanding tradition in the eastern region of Nigeria, serving as a cornerstone for generations. This cultural practice involves placing young individuals under the tutelage of experienced traders, artisans, or professionals to acquire a trade or skill. Upon completion, apprentices gain “freedom,” often accompanied by a cash settlement or seed money to initiate their independent trade. Notably, the system gained global recognition in 2021 when Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe’s work on the Igbo Apprenticeship System (IAS) was published in the Harvard Business Review.

“Freemen” features insights from prominent Igbo businessmen such as Dr. Cosmas Maduka (Coscharis), Obinna Iyiegbu (Obi Cubana), Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Okey Japan, and Bartholomew Duru Nwanguma, among others. These successful entrepreneurs share personal stories on how the Igbo Apprenticeship System shaped their careers, offering a unique glimpse into the roots of their entrepreneurial success.

Beyond its focus on the Igbo community, “Freemen” explores the evolution of the apprenticeship system, adapting to various trades and influencing similar systems across Africa, including in Ghana, Senegal, and Ethiopia.

The documentary is spearheaded by Daro Umaigba, who serves as the director and co-producer, expressing excitement about offering viewers an intimate look into the world of the Igbo Apprenticeship System, stated:

“With Freemen, we open a window into the world of the Igbo Apprenticeship System, offering viewers an intimate look at how great business minds are nurtured and developed. This documentary is not just a showcase of the rich Igbo cultural heritage but also a valuable resource for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs seeking mentorship insights.’’

Co-produced by rapper Tobechukwu Ejiofor, aka iLLBLISS (from King of Boys),who also produces the soundtrack for the show. “Freemen” promises a powerful soundtrack produced by the artist.

In anticipation of the show’s launch, Dr Busola Tejumola, Executive Head of Content and West Africa Channels at MultiChoice, said, “Freemen is more than just a documentary on the Igbo Apprenticeship System, it is a spotlight on our rich narrative and culture. We are excited at Showmax to be able to tell the vibrant story of a system that has transcended cultural boundaries into other regions of the country and beyond.”

“Freemen” will be exclusively available on Showmax starting February 12, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday.

By Shalom O. Obisesan

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