Borom Sarret

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Borom Sarret a.k.a. The Wagoner
Directed by Ousmane Sembène
Written by Ousmane Sembène
Starring Ly Abdoulay
Narrated by Ousmane Sembène
Distributed by African Film Library
Release date
  • 1963 (1963)
Country Senegal
Language French

Borom Sarret a.k.a. The Wagoner (1963) is the first film by Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène over which he had full control. It is often considered the first film ever made in Africa by a black African. It is twenty minutes long and tells a story about a cart driver in Dakar. The film illustrates the poverty in Africa, showing that independence has not solved the problems of its people.[1] It was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[2]


Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène's Borom Saret tells the story of a poor man trying to make a living as a cart driver in Dakar.

While he expects to be paid for his services, he never makes it clear, so when he does not receive payment he is often left feeling disappointed and taken advantaged of.

Among the people he meets is a man delivering his dead child to the cemetery. When the man is not allowed in because he does not have the correct papers, the cart driver abandons the body in the ground and leaves the man lamenting over his loss. In another sequence, a well dressed man asks to be taken to the wealthier French quarter of the city. They argue, but the cart master takes him anyway. The city prohibits horse-drawn carts and a policeman fines the cart driver, taking his medal for payment. At this point, he mourns the loss of his medal, a military decoration he wears suggesting that he, like many Senegalese natives, had been drafted into the French military. The well-dressed man has left his driver and the cart driver is now left without the means to earn a living.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, Film History: An Introduction, 2nd edition (McGraw Hill, 2003) ISBN 9780070384293, p. 548.
  2. ^ "Cannes Classics 2013 line-up unveiled". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 

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