Ousmane Sembène calls Live 8 ‘a lie’

A couple of days ago, Ousmane Sembène, the Senegalese-born ‘father of African cinema’, was awarded the fellowship of the BFI (British Film Institute) and was talking about numerous issues facing Africa today. He had this to say to film critic Bonnie Greer about Live 8 and the Make Poverty History campaign headed up by the likes of the 3 B’s – Bono, Blair and Bush:

Bonnie Greer: What do you think of the big campaigns going on now in Britain: Make Poverty History, Live 8, Hear Africa 05? Big initiatives to make people aware and to maybe give money.

Ousmane Sembène: I think they’re fake, and I think African heads of state who buy into that idea are liars. The only way for us to come out of poverty is to work hard. Poverty means begging throughout the world. I know your prime minister is spearheading that kind of campaign. A few years ago, the British army was in Sierra Leone – were they there to fight against poverty? It’s a mistake, it’s a lie. But it’s up to Africans to know that, and I think we have to start that revolution back home.

The full transcript of the interview is in the Guardian here.

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