Revisiting Sembene’s XALA and the generations of Africa betrayed by our inept elite

The lacerating guile of Ousmane Sembene and his utter contempt for the African elite-cum-politician remain the most appealing banner of his 1975 masterwork ‘Xala’. As its 45th-anniversary approaches, the only things that keep it from being a beat for beat reflection Africa’s contemporary reality are its allegorical and satirical packaging. For Sembene, faith in mostContinue reading “Revisiting Sembene’s XALA and the generations of Africa betrayed by our inept elite”

BLACK GIRL – Sembene prods at the myth of decolonisation in his blueprint for African Cinema

To immerse yourself in Ousmane Sembene’s 1966 film, ‘Black Girl’ (La Noire de…) is to time-travel to ground zero of African Cinema. Sembene’s extremely lean but layered first feature film was the first by sub-Saharan African, earning him the mantle of the “father of African film”. Yes, there were films produced in Africa during theContinue reading “BLACK GIRL – Sembene prods at the myth of decolonisation in his blueprint for African Cinema”

Disillusion, apathy and dysfunction; TOUKI BOUKI’s foreshadowing of our existential cul de sac

When did Africans start to lose faith in Africa? How long did it take the buoyant flames of colonialism to be quenched by the decadence of the elite and an underestimation of neocolonialism? Probably in the mid-’60s, and judging by the golden age of Senegalese cinema, this sentiment became truly entrenched in the ‘70s; withContinue reading “Disillusion, apathy and dysfunction; TOUKI BOUKI’s foreshadowing of our existential cul de sac”

Ousmane Sembene’s CEDDO – Everyone wants a piece of the Africa action

One of the earliest sequences in 1977’s Ceddo involves a barter of men for goods. A man in this 18th-century Senegalese village with a rifle strapped on his shoulder, leads two men, presumably ceddo (outsiders) like a pair of antelopes, to a white trader who happens to barter in you regular stuff like yams, chickens, maizeContinue reading “Ousmane Sembene’s CEDDO – Everyone wants a piece of the Africa action”

FILM REVIEW; Ousmane Sembène’s XALA

My walk with Senegalese director, Ousmane Sembène continues with his 1975 film Xala, an adaptation of Sembène’s 1973 novel of the same name. It’s the most modern of his films I have seen as yet, set some 15 years after Senegal’s independence. After a film like Emitai, where the French occupiers were the subject of Sembene’sContinue reading “FILM REVIEW; Ousmane Sembène’s XALA”