Director Sembene, Father of African Cinema

Ousmane Sembene was one of the most important writers of sub-Saharan Africa. He was also, arguably, its most important filmmaker. The son of a fisherman, Sembene fought for France during World War II, while that country was occupying his native Senegal. After the war, he landed in Marseille, where he worked on the docks and started writing.

Sembene's novels and short stories gained international acclaim, but he wanted his ideas to reach his own people, many of whom could not read. So he started making movies. His best-known is La Noire de..., often translated as "The Black Girl." His last was Moolaade, released three years ago.

The man known as the father of African cinema died over the weekend in Dakar, Senegal, after a long illness. He was 84.

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