After reading God's Bits of Wood, what do you believe Sembène Ousmane's opinions on the qualifications of leadership are?

Sembène Ousmane has the opinion that leadership should only be for the benefit of the people, not for the good of the rulers. Ousmane clearly believes that colonial power is unethical and unjustified. In contrast, the positive leadership provided by the charismatic union leader, Bakayoko, is characterized by the desire to make things right. In Ousmane's eyes, leadership needs to be fair and just.

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Throughout this great novel, Sembène Ousmane portrays the French colonial powers which ruled Senegal at the time as an organization which ran the colony for its own benefit. They did not care for the Senegalese people. He makes it clear that this is not a positive way of doing things.

On the other hand, it becomes clear that Ousmane respects leaders like Bakayoko. Bakayoko helps his people muster the fortitude to fight the good fight against colonialism. Leaders, in Ousmane's eyes, should be selfless; they should only be focused on defending the rights of their people and advocating for the greater good.

It is also clear that Ousmane does not subscribe to any notion of patriarchal leadership. It is the women, ultimately, who become the heroes of the resistance. They march to Senegal's capital to make their protests about exploitation and colonial injustice heard.

By sending the woman on the march, Ousmane also sheds light on the poor state of women's rights; it was a major issue at this time in Senegalese culture. It would seem, therefore, that Ousmane's version of leadership is free of prejudice and gender bias.

At the end of it all, the strike proves to be successful. The oppressors of the Senegalese people are forced to back down. This implies that Ousmane believes that strong, moral leadership gets positive results.

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