Sembene Ousmane’s harrowing novel God’s Bits of Wood has been on my mind a lot lately. It explores the political dynamics underpinning the 1947 railway workers’ strike in Dakar, Senegal.
The novel’s potency lies in more than its analysis of the workers’ oppression. Ousmane crafts an intersectional examination of the strike’s socioeconomic implications. He weaves his plot cleverly around the themes of gender and sexual relations as well as the dismantling of patriarchal arrogance and complacency. All of this means that you can’t read the novel from a single perspective.