RUWDEC Celebrates Pioneer African Film Maker, Legend, Pan-Africanist


The Rural Women Development Centre, RUWDEC, has used the life and works of Africa’s pioneer film maker, Ousmane Sebene, in motivating and inspiring youths, to embark in original ventures that will bring out the best in them, to the benefit of their society.

Ousmane Sebene, Pioneer African Film Maker

At the event hosted in Buea by RUWDEC and partners, the life of Africa’s pioneer film maker, Ousmane Sebene, of Senegal, was projected, with a documentary of the legend, his works, as well as his philosophy of the life.

In the event themed, ‘Sembene across Africa’, RUWDEC joined the rest of Africa in celebrating the day, in memory of the late African cinema icon.

In her presentation of Sembene, RUWDEC’s Yonga Nelly Shella, portrayed him as a man who was passionate about what he had to offer in the society.

Sembene’s works, his films and way of life, were portrayed through the free screening of his award-winning documentary, Sembene, as part of the Sembene across Africa project

The late Senegalese filmmaker’s life and exploits was celebrated in Africa and across the world, from June 9 to 11.

In a documentary, the various films, produced by Ousmane Sembene, were highlighted, together with the core messages or ideas that late Sembene was out to pass to his people.

Amongst the many films, was ‘Black Girl’ which was the very first major film produced by an African, based on an African story line. Some other movies were showcased, in which Sembene was not just out to produce movies, he also used them as a medium to pass across educative and corrective information in ways he deemed fit and good for the continent and the African man.

In the documentary, Sembene, noted that he was not out “just for entertainment, but to produce films that trigger thought.” This was corroborated by the fact that in most of his movies, the icon attacked colonisation, the imposition of western way of life on Africans, as well as the forceful introduction of Western religion, to the detriment of the African way of life.

Other themes on his movies, equally attacked African despots, sell-outs, colonial masters, as well as some heinous practices like female genital mutilation, reason why some countries including France had to temporarily ban some of his movies that exposed their deeds.

Speaking at the event, Southwest’s regional delegate of Culture, Grace Ewang, encouraged local talent, while discouraging the trend of youths trying to copy everything from the West, as a way of life. She discouraged attitude that portrays inferiority complex, and enjoined the youths, to be like Sembene, proud of their way of life and not exited at copying others.

“Instead of transforming us into photocopies of other people, transform others into photocopies of us” She said.

On her path, RUWDEC’s Coordinator, Yonga Nelly Shella they decided to bring youths together, so as to use the life of the pioneer film icon, to motivate youths, and promote self-motivated endeavours that could lead to the much needed change in society.

“When I got the information and package about his work, it caught my attention and I thought it wise to share with other young people…” Yonga said, pointing out that the bringing together of young people, help them to spread information on what her organisation, RUWDEC offers, that can help women and youths make a difference in the society.


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