In addition to his novels, Ousmane Sembène (sehm-BEH-neh) wrote short stories, collected as Voltaïque (1962; Tribal Scars, and Other Stories, 1974), titled for the final piece, which is narrated mainly by a man from the Upper Volta. These stories, regarded by some as Sembène’s best work, explore the same themes found in his novels: the reactionary influences of Islam and polygamy, historical and cultural contexts vis-à-vis Western civilization, cultural displacement, union activities and the betrayal of national leaders, and the defiance of established authority.
Sembène is also known for his success in cinema, including Borom-Sarret (1962) and Ceddo (1977). Several of his films won prizes in international competition. Again, the themes of the films resemble those of the novels and, in fact, four are based on published fiction: La Noire de(1966; also known as Black Girl), on “The Promised Land” in Tribal Scars; Niaye (1964), on White Genesis; Mandabi (1968; also known as Le Mandat and The Money Order), on The Money-Order; and Xala (1974; also known as Impotence), on the book of that name. Inversely, Sembène’s fiction after 1962 shows the effects of cinematographic technique.