“Gods Bits of Wood,” is Sembene Ousmane’s novel and it gives a very comprehensive anecdote of the railway strike that took place in French West Africa from 1947 to 1948. It involves moral, political, and emotional conflicts: it is also a novel on empowerment. The novel explicates the pressure between colonial administrators and the African society amongst the railwaymen and the African community’s resistance and struggles to free from the colonial power.
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Through this novel, the author depicts the African community’s struggles under colonial power. Many Africans had a hatred for the colonial administrators, that’s why Fa Keita (an old man) believes that hatred should not dwell in the hearts of people. Bakayoko was the organizer of the strike and that’s why he believes that “To fight well, it was necessary to hate” (Ousmane, 241). He felt that the colonial officials were unjust to them and so if one hates injustice, he/she must also hate the unjust.
Fa Keita’s and Bakayoko’s views represent the emotions felt by different people of the African community regarding colonial power. Ousmane’s purpose in the novel is to show what took place during the strike and the relationship that existed between the African community and the colonial officials. Keita and Bakayoko’s views relate to this theme because they show readers how they felt about the entire issue. Their views were different: Keita’s view was pessimistic compared to that of Bakayoko. Bakayoko’s father died in a strike that took place in Senegal. Bakayoko considered the white employers unjust; they protested against racial injustices, unfair wages lack of retirement fund, and family allowances. Bakayoko persuaded the strikers to continue fighting for justice.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: a survivor’s tale. USA: Pantheon Books, 1997. Print.