Kemtiyu: Séex Anta - Cheikh Anta
Ousmane William Mbaye, 2016, 94 mins
The film is a 'portrait' of Cheikh Anta Diop, author of Nations Nègres et Culture (1954), a significant but also controversial figure in Senegal and in philosophical circles for the views he espoused on Africa, African civilisations, and the origins of humanity. The film tells the story of a man who fought his whole life for truth and justice in order to restore historical awareness and dignity to Africa. Born in 1923 in a village in Senegal, he developed a passion for science and African history at a very early age. He studied philosophy, then physics, chemistry, history, linguistics, and anthropology in Paris in 1947. His professors were Gaston Bachelard, Marcel Griaule and Frédéric Joliot-Curie. In 1954, he published "Nations Nègres et Culture", a cult book which revolutionized the view of the origin of civilizations by declaring that Africa is the cradle of humanity, and the Pharaohs of Egypt were Negro. Contradicting the Egyptologists cost him dearly his whole life. After completing his doctorate, he returned to Senegal in 1960 at the time of independence, and clashed with Léopold Sédar Senghor who banned him from teaching at the university. Then, with the support of Théodore Monod, Cheikh Anta built his own carbon dating laboratory in Dakar. He was convinced that Africa’s development would come about through scientific learning, the protection of its national languages, and the federation of the United States of Africa.