R.I.P. Ousmane Sembène

sembene.jpgSembène, the Senegalese filmmaker and novelist, died after a long illness on Sunday past.Here's more on his passing:

Ousmane Sembene, the Senegalese filmmaker and writer who was a crucial figure in the African postcolonial cultural awakening, has died at his home in Dakar, Senegal. His family, which announced his death Sunday, said Sembene had been ill since December. He was 84. (International Herald Tribune, June 12, 2007)

Here's more on his life and work:

Born on 1 January 1923 in Ziguinchor, Senegal, Ousmane Sembene is assuredly one of the most prominent figures in African film and literature. Yet little in his early experience seemed to predispose him to a career not only as a major literary figure but also as a literary figure, tout court. Primarily self-taught, Sembene has been exposed to various experiences and situations that have very often turned out to reverberate in his work. As early as the age of 15, he started earning his living as a fisherman. Beside working as a fisherman, Sembene has also served as a bricklayer, a plumber, an apprentice mechanic, a dock worker and a trade unionist -- jobs which many people may view as incongruent with, or even unlikely to be conducive to, the stimulation of literary talents. But it is this very experience which, paradoxically or not, greatly contributed in shaping Sembene as the great writer and filmmaker he has become. In this respect, Ousmane maintains that his education was a result of a training he received in "the University of Life" (qtd. in Amuta 137).

If you have never read or seen anything by him, make the effort.