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Master Class: OUSMANE SEMBENE – AFRICA BEYOND THE MIRROR

 

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OUSMANE SEMBÉNE:  AFRICA BEYOND THE MIRROR

 

Master Class on Ousmane Sembéne

by Samba Gadjigo, Ph.D.

Thursday, November 12th – 7:30 PM

[Date and Time Change!]

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood

7101 Hamilton Ave., PGH, 15208

Doors Open at 5:00

 

THE MASTER CLASS IS FREE BUT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

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MASTER CLASS.  OUSMANE SEMBÉNE:  AFRICA BEYOND THE MIRROR

 

Ousmane Sembéne (1923-2007) is a former fisherman, bricklayer (in his native Senegal) WWII veteran (in Niger) dock worker, union organizer, and  rench Communist member (in Marseilles, France).  Almost illiterate when he arrived in France, in 1947, by his death , in 2007,  the Marxist self -educated dock worker had became one of the most prolific writers of his generation, with ten books ( starting with his biographical novel Black Docker, 1956), many of which have been translated in many languages.

 

When most African countries gained political independence in 1960, Ousmane Sembéne returned to Africa  with the goal “to  give voice to millions of voiceless, disenfranchised Africans.”  However, faced with the rampant illiteracy in both African and European languages that plagued the continent, in 1961, Sembéne decided to find a better medium to reconnect with the African masses.  After a year training at the Gorki Studio in Moscow, he returns to Senegal and directs his first short, Boron Sarret (1962).  In half a century, he directed twelve films that earned him the title of “Father of African Cinema.”  Nowadays, Senegalese writer-director Ousmane Sembéne (1923-2007) is recognized as one of the world’s most distinguished  cultural icons  of the 20th-century.

 

After a brief introduction to Sembéne’s extraordinary life, this  master class will attempt to illustrate how, throughout his literary and film work, the self-proclaimed “artisan de chambre” (home craftsman) combined politics and art to  challenge the dominant discourses on Africa and to invent a new, galvanizing mirror for the continent and its people.

 

ABOUT SAMBA GADJIGO

 

Dr. Gadjigo is Professor of French and African Studies in the Department of French at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.  Dr. Gadjigo is also a filmmaker and a colleague and official biographer of Ousmane Sembéne.

 

Documentary Films

The Making of Moolaadé, a 22 min documentary on the making of Sembene’s last feature Moolaadé. Completed in 2004 and in distribution by New Yorker Films, New York.

 

SEMBENE! co-director with Jason Silverman: 88 min- long documentary film on Sembéne’s life and work, exploring the themes developed in the biography through interviews and extensive footage from Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Us and France.  Released in 2015. Selections: Sundance Film Festival; Cannes Film Festival; Durban Film Festival and Sidney Film festival… US distributor: Kino Lorber, NY, NY

 

Related Experience

 

1992-1994: Chair, African and African-American Studies Program, Mount Holyoke College

1995-1999: Chair, French Department.  Mount Holyoke College

2012- 2013 Chair,  French Department

 

For more information, visit: www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/sgadjigo