God's Bits of Wood

Front Cover
Heinemann, 1995 - Fiction - 248 pages
49 Reviews
"God's Bits of Wood is a fictionalized account of the Dakar-Niger train strikes which took in the 1940s. The novel looks at both the political and personal sacrifices the strikers and their families made. The political power is portrayed here as the strikers try to win back pensions, annual paid vacations, and family allowances from the Europeans. The novel can be seen as a shift of power between the African strikers and their European bosses. The Europeans have the political process and violence as a leverage of power, which they use both insistently and mindlessly. One of the European delegates for the railway company accidentally shoots young boys who are playing along the tracks. The delegate isn't charged with their murders. The Europeans also prevent the strikers and their families from having access to water. Yet the strikers also have the masses as their power. The strikers gain powerful allies in their own women. In the beginning of the novel, the women are not told the details of the strike, though they are asked to support their men. Only the small child, Ad'jibid'ji, shows any interest and insists that her grandfather take her to a meeting of the strikers. Yet as the novel continues, the women become more and more involved in the strike. This is because the strike has hit home to them in a literal way. There is no water nor food to eat. The women and children begin to starve. The women suffer in silence until they begin to fight back. Two of the more striking sequences in the novel are the siege between the women of N'Diayene and the policemen who have come to arrest Ramatoulaye, and leads to the burning down of the village, and the march the women go on to Dakar to protest their treatment and to support the strikers. The strike breaks down the barriers which cause inequality between men and women, black and white." -- from www.associatedcontent.com (Oct. 22, 2010).
  

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Review: God's Bits of Wood

User Review  - Conec-san - Goodreads

Before reading Ousmane Sembčne's novel, I decided to read into his background a bit. I learned that he was an accomplished film director, writer, a soldier in WWII and a participant in the Dakar-Niger ... Read full review

Review: God's Bits of Wood

User Review  - Laurag - Goodreads

Good. I felt like there was a LOT I didn't fully understand, and I have a decent understanding of West Africa. I'd be interested to read it in French to see how it feels different. It is much less ... Read full review

Contents

BAMAKO Adjibidji
1
DAKAR DaoudaBeaugosse
35
Houdia MBaye
50
BAMAKO Tiemoko
78
DAKAR MameSofi
109
THIES Sounkare the Watchman
128
Doudou
145
The March of the Women
186
BAMAKO The Camp
230
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About the author (1995)

Sembene Ousmane, film director and writer, was born in Senegal  and worked as a fisherman before attending  l'Ecole de Ceramique at Marsassoum. He then worked as a plumber, a bricklayer and an apprentice mechanic in Dakar.  After the war he became a docker and trade union leader in Marseilles, and out of this experience he wrote Le Docker Noir (1956). He had also published Oh Pays, mon Beau Peuple (1957), L'Harmattan (1964) and the collection of stories, Voltaique (1962), which was translated as God's Bits of Wood and appears in the African Writers Series (AWS). He has made several films including one of Le Mandat (translated as The Money Order with White Genesis AWS). His film of Xala met with a great success in the New York film festival.

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