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Life and Works of Ousmane Sembene

Dwayne Marshall Baker


This brief biography of Ousmane Sembene offers an understanding of his work in the context of African literature and film. By placing Africa as the center of the world and making his literature African, Sembene subscribes to the basic premise of African literature that emphasizes social more than aesthetic principles. A study of his background is crucial because Sembene’s work corresponds with his own personal experiences. We cannot, as George Orwell contended, “assess a writer’s motives without knowing something of his early development” (1954, 315). This is because, “His (the writer’s) subject matter will be determined by the age he lives in… before he ever begins to write he will have acquired an emotional attitude from which he will never completely escape” (Ibid.).


biography; sembene; film; fiction

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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