Originally you were a highly successful acclaimed novelist. Why did you make the switch to film-making?
Ousmane Sembene: I’ve just finished another book but I think it is of limited importance. First, 80% of Africans are illiterate. Only 20% of the populace possibly can read it. But further, my books indispose the bourgeoisie, so I am hardly read at home. My movies have more followers than the political parties and the Catholic and Moslem religions combined. Every night I can fill up a movie theater. The people will come whether they share my ideas or not. I tell you, in Africa, especially in Senegal, even a blind person will go to the cinema and pay for an extra seat for a young person to sit and explain the film to him. He will feel what’s going on. Personally, I prefer to read because I learned from reading. But I think that cinema is culturally much more important, and for us in Africa it is an absolute necessity. There is one thing you can’t take away from the African masses and that is having seen something.