Freemen S1
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9 February 2024

Freemen S1

The Igbo Apprenticeship System has been a cornerstone of the eastern region of Nigeria for generations. The practice involves young individuals placed under the tutelage of experienced traders, artisans, or professionals to learn a trade or skill for a period of time, after which they gain “freedom”, typically including a cash settlement or seed money that will allow them to begin their own trade. In recent times, the business model has gained worldwide traction, and in 2021, Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe’s work on the Igbo Apprenticeship System (IAS) was published in the Harvard Business Review.

The seven-part documentary series features prominent Igbo businessmen such as Dr Anene Okeke, Dr Cosmas Maduka aka Coscharis, Obinna Iyiegbu, popularly known as Obi Cubana, Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Okey Japan, Bartholomew Duru Nwanguma alongside his son Peter Nwanguma, and other notable entrepreneurs. These successful businessmen share their personal stories and reflections on how the Igbo Apprenticeship System shaped their careers and paved the way for their entrepreneurial success.

The documentary is structured in four distinctive parts, providing an in-depth 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 offering a unique perspective on the apprenticeship journey.

Freemen is co-produced by multiple-award-winning rapper Tobechukwu Ejiofor, aka ILLBLiSS (King of Boys), who also produces the soundtrack for the show.

All episodes are now streaming.