Ousmane Sembène

Ousmane Sembène, often referred to as the 'father of African cinema,' was a prolific Senegalese film director, producer, and writer. He was also a notable author who contributed significantly to African literature. Sembène's work often focused on themes of colonialism, culture, and social issues. His novels and films were known for their critical perspective on post-colonial African societies and their challenges. Some of his notable works include the novel 'God's Bits of Wood' and the film 'Xala.'


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. God's Bits of Wood

    This novel tells the story of a railway strike on the Dakar-Niger line that lasted from 1947 to 1948. The workers endure low wages and dangerous conditions, while their French bosses live comfortably. The strike is initially led by men, but as it drags on and hardship intensifies, the women of the community play an increasingly vital role, culminating in a triumphant march where they demand equal rights and recognition. The book explores themes of colonialism, gender roles, and the struggle for equality.

    The 987th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Les Bouts De Bois De Dieu

    "Les Bouts De Bois De Dieu" by Ousmane Sembene is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that depicts the struggles and resilience of a group of African railway workers in Senegal during the colonial era. As they face exploitation, discrimination, and harsh working conditions, the workers unite and organize a strike to demand better treatment and fair wages. Through vivid storytelling and compelling characters, the book explores themes of social injustice, solidarity, and the fight against oppression, highlighting the resilience and determination of the human spirit.

    The 3791st Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Xala

    The book is a satirical novel set in post-independence Senegal, exploring themes of corruption, power, and tradition. It follows the story of a wealthy businessman who, after taking a third wife, finds himself afflicted with xala, a curse of impotence. His desperate attempts to cure his condition expose the hypocrisy and moral decay of the newly established elite, as he navigates the clash between modernity and traditional beliefs. The narrative serves as a critique of the neocolonialism that persists in African societies, highlighting the struggles between personal gain and societal progress.

    The 4626th Greatest Book of All Time