- Jennie Carlisle
(b Ziguinchor, Jan 1, 1923; d Dakar, June 10, 2007).
Senegalese novelist and film maker. The son of a fisherman, Sembène was born in the Casamance region of southern Senegal and completed his formal education at the age of 14. Through the 1940s and 1950s he was variously a soldier in World War II, a railway worker in Senegal, and a stevedore and trade-union organizer at Marseilles. Sembène started his artistic career as a writer while in Marseilles as his interest in Marxist and Pan-Africanist philosophies intensified. He was nearly 40 years of age when he decided to take up film-making and spent a year learning cinematography at the Gorki Studios in Moscow, under the direction of Soviet director Marc Donskoy (1901–81). Returning to a newly independent Senegal at the close of 1962, Sembène focused his attention on film as a didactic tool that would allow him to reach African audiences without access to literature. Nonetheless, reading and writing remained a central interest for Sembène throughout his life. His films, for which he is most well known, are mainly adaptations of his novels and short stories....