Ousmane Sembène (January 1, 1923 — June 9, 2007), often credited in the French style as Sembène Ousmane in articles and reference works, was a Senegalese film director, producer and writer. The Los Angeles Times considered him one of the greatest authors of Africa and has often been called the “Father of African film.”
The son of a fisherman, Ousmane Sembène was born in Ziguinchor in Casamance to a Muslim Wolof family. He went to an Islamic school (common for many boys in Senegal) and to the French school, learning French and basic Arabic in addition to his mother tongue, Wolof. He had to leave his French school in 1936 when he clashed with the principal. After an unsuccessful stint working with his father (Sembène was prone to sea-sickness), he left for Dakar in 1938, where he worked a variety of manual labour jobs.
In 1944, Sembène was drafted into the Senegalese Tirailleurs (a corps of the French Army) in World War II and later fought for the Free French Forces. After… read more