Ousmane Sembene: (1923-2007) Senegalese writer and film director. He fought with the Free French in World War II. After the war, he worked as a docker and taught himself French. His writings, often on historical-political themes, include The Black Docker (1965), God’s Bits of Wood (1960), and Niiwam and Taaw (1987). Around 1960 he became interested in film; since studying in Moscow, he has made films reflecting a strong social commitment, including Black Girl (1966), the first feature produced in sub-Saharan Africa. With Mandabi (1968), he began to film in the Wolof language; his later films have included Xala (1974), Ceddo (1977), Camp de Thiaroye (1987), and Guelwaar (1994).
Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.