Sembene Ousmane Black Girl (1966)

SEMBENE OUSMANE BLACK GIRL (1966) 5

SembeneOusmane Black Girl (1966)

SembeneOusmane Black Girl (1966)

SembeneOusmane’s Black Girl (1966) film focuses on the theme of postcolonialism in Africa. Diouana’s experiences in France depict thepost-colonial challenges the Africans experienced. Besides, the filmtackles the influence of racism and colonialism in Africa. TheAfricans backward culture and misinformation enhanced their sufferingduring post-colonial identity era.

Sembeneuses his cinematic intellect to portray Africans as culturallyoppressed by the white bourgeoisie. For example, the moviestereotypes African women as only eligible for domestic and menialjobs since they have no social mobility, training, and education. Inaddition, the African bourgeoisie uses Islamic and traditional tribalcultures to restrict women from modernization. The directoremphasizes the oppression and desperation of African women with aflashback of a Madame walking confidently across the streets of Dakarsearching for a house help. Several girls fruitlessly urge her tohire them as she carefully evaluates the best house cleaner for thehouse.

Thefilm portrays racism when Diouana wears high heels and a pretty dresswhen doing household chores. Madame orders her to change intoappropriate outfit. Diouana had no chance of wearing pretty clothesand shoes, as she was confined indoors. Since Madame often goes out,she has an opportunity for wearing her attractive clothes. However,she does not think that Diouana desires appreciation, pleasure and anopportunity for self-expression. Besides, the employers’ cannotunderstand that they are hurting Diouana by denying her anopportunity for expressing herself. Her employers accord hertreatment similar to that of a slave.

Madamedirects Diouana to prepare Dakar cuisine for their visitors. However,Diouana does not join the guests at the dining table because she isnot a white. Similarly, one of the guests requests to kiss Diouanabecause he has never done so on a black girl. All these sectionsenhance the theme of racism.

Themovie portrays the theme of post-colonialism through Diouana’sflashbacks during her preparation to join her former employers inAntibes. Her former employers had promised to give her a nanny job,but she expected her working experience to be different from that inDakar, as she had heard many reports concerning the motherland of heremployers. She is delighted with the upcoming trip as she brags thatshe would purchase trendy outfits that she would then takephotographs and send them home. In addition, she fancies the way herparents would be envious with her newfound opportunity.Unfortunately, she discovers that she spends most of the time doinghouse chores. The couple is not financially stable as it was inSenegal, so her salary is occasionally late. Additionally, the couplecannot afford to hire many nannies as they were doing in Dakar. Thismakes her life a monotonous routine of cooking and cleaning the smallhouse. Her program is so tight that she cannot get time to explorethe famous France cosmopolitan. Gradually, she discovers that heremployers are similar to masters while her domestic job resembledpaid slavery.

Diouana’sexperiences portray post-colonialism in Africa through hermisinformed perception that she could only afford to live a luxuriouslife in France. She is thrilled to migrate to France because shebelieves that life in France is better than in Africa. Unfortunately,her employers were even living a higher quality life in Dakar. Theyhad a big house and several house servants. However, the family wasliving in a small house in Antibes, and the couple had difficultiesraising enough money to pay her. She had to work for several hours,as she had no assistant.