One of my favourite book titles must be Sembene Ousmane’s God’s Bits of Wood. It speaks poetically of the existential position of an embattled and suffering humanity. Ousmane deals most creatively with the lot of Afrikan people and the struggles we go through under various forms of colonialism.
I have read this novel, a very long time ago, during my formative years of being introduced to the awesomely endowed African Writers Series, a trademark of Heinemann, a division of Reed Publishing ( USA) Incorporated. To say that the African Writers Series and the Caribbean Writers Series is a treasure-trove would be an understatement, but I have yet to find the words to describe the wealth of knowledge and joy I have found in exploring all those stories from all over the Afrikan and Diasporic world.
I am about to re-read Sembene Ousmane’s God’s Bits of Wood, ( I aim to write at length about the literary and film works of this great Afrikan artist and prophet -) and I am so excited. The blurb at the back reads:
“‘Eversince they left Thies, the women had not stopped singing. As soon as one group allowed the refrain to die, another picked it up, and new verses were born at the hazard of chance or inspiration, one word leading to another and each finding in its turn, its rhythm and its place. No one was very sure any longer where the song began, or if it had an ending. It rolled out over its own length, like the movement of a serpent. It was as long as a life.’
In 1947-8 the workers on the Dakar-Niger railway came out on strike. Sembene Ousmane, in thhis vivid and moving novel, evinces all of the colour, passion and tragedy of those decisive years in the history of West Africa.”