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Kemtiyu - Cheikh Anta
Kemtiyu - Cheikh Anta

KEMTIYU - Cheikh Anta Diop

"The Universal Man", "The Giant of Knowledge", "The Last Pharaoh" , these were the headlines, the day after his death on February 7, 1986. Thirty years later, KEMTIYU paints a portrait of Cheikh Anta Diop, a trail-blazing scholar with an insatiable thirst for science and knowledge as well as an honest, enlightened political figure, venerated by some, decried by others, and unknown to most.

This 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.

Production Details

Script direction & production : Ousmane William MBAYE
Editing & production : Laurence ATTALI
Music : Randy WESTON
Scientific Advisor : Cheikh Mbacké DIOP
Cinematography : O. William MBAYE - Jean DIOUF - Amadou THIOR - Guillaume
Sound & Mixing : Myriam RENE - Michel TSIGALI
Color grading: Rémi BERGE
Subtitles: John & Isabelle MILLER
Archives Ina + Senegalese archives + Private archives

With Cheikh Anta DIOP , and in order of appearence :
Louise Marie DIOP MAES, Moustapha DIOP, Mame Sow DIOUF, Annette Mbaye
d'ERNEVILLE, Christiane Yandé DIOP, Boubacar Boris DIOP, Dr Yoro SY, Joe OUAKAM, Randy WESTON, Assane SECK, Maurice CAVEING, Edouard EDELMANN, Dialo DIOP, Cheikh Mbacké DIOP, Massamba S. DIOP, Ndakhté A. MBAYE, Abdou DIOUF, Amadou Mahtar MBOW, Théophile OBENGA, Alain FROMENT, Michel REINETTE, Charles S. FINCH, Andrew YOUNG, Lawrence E. CARTER, Boubacar Buuba DIOP.

With the participation and support of : FOPICA - TV5MONDE - CNC - Fonds Images de la Diversité – PROCIREP-ANGOA - Fonds Image de la Francophonie.

Distribution Details

Available: Germany, Austria, Switzerland
Contact: verleih(at)africavenir.org 
Format: Appleprores 4:2:2 HD 1920x1080 Stéréo / DCP / Blu Ray
Languages: French / Wolof
Subtitles available: English
Poster/Pictures/Press Kit: Can be sent digitally


Born in 1923 in a village in deepest Senegal, he developed a passion for science and Africa history at a very early age. He arrived in Paris in 1947 to study philosophy, then physics, chemistry, history, linguistics, and anthropology. 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, the Egypt of the Pharaohs was Black, and that history has been altered. To dare to contradict the Egyptologists and reject their symbols 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.

Despite a path strewn with pitfalls and opponents, Cheikh Anta Diop, the rebel, left behind a colossal body of work and several heirs around the world who have perpetuated his legacy.

“One may wonder if he is not one of those who settled comfortably into eternity in their own lifetime” a journalist wrote as early as 1960.

Press Reviews

"It was just awesome! I experienced every single sequence of this multidimensional film with great emotion. And in my head, Randy Weston's flamboyant music still continues to invoke the African ancestors, but also those of the cotton fields… I knew him, I read him, I loved him, I quoted him and advocated his teachings, but now I feel like an orphan... Because this film has brought me the missing human affection to this magnificent pharao, who came right from the limbo of our brains to materialise in our hearts, an affection only proximity can bring…" Hulo Guillabert, Director of Diasporas Noires Editions and Panafricanist Activist

"It is only thirty years after his death that a film has been made about the much admired panafricanist and senegalese egyptologist. The documentary entitled "Kemtiyu - Séex Anta" by director Ousmane William Mbaye, screened as a world preview at Sorano, brings us much closer to the scientist and his battle on Africa's contribution to global civilisation." Fatou K. Sène, Walf Quotidien

"Thank you Willy for this affectionate proximity, than you for indelible commitment which I from now on am feeling for my father, my ancestor..." Hulo Guillabert, Director of Diasporas Noires Editions and Panafricanist Activist

"Youth and family phographies, conversations with his loved ones in Senegal, in France and in the USA, inspiring film music by US Jazz musician Randy Weston... Director Ousmane William Mbaye has embarked on a journey into our collective memory." Sabine Cessou, Hebdo

"This film is about the courage of a man, his consistency, his refusal to compromise on intellectual grounds (a refusal to tolerate the falsification of history) and on the political field (more equity and social justice). It is also the chronicle of missed opportunities between a people and one of his most dignified sons. It is the portrait of a man, who remained largely ununderstood, even in intellectual and politically or socially committed circles (...) The film makes us realise at least one thing: Cheikh Anta Diop is a history lesson of burning topicality." Racine Assane Demba, livracine

"When his work speaks for an artist, there is no need to transform into media product. Everything is said and the genius of his author has been revealed. Ousmane William Mbaye deserves praise, just as much as ilustrous predecessors Paulin Soumanou Vieyra, Sembene Ousmane, Djibril Diop Mambety..." Alassane Aliou MBAYE, Le Soleil

"He gives to the scientific discourse of Cheikh Anta Diop a human face (...)" Alassane Aliou MBAYE, Le Soleil


  • 1er Prix Meilleure OEuvre documentaire FESPACO 2017 –
  • Prix ACP Union Européenne Fespaco 17!
  • Festival Vision Award feature documentary Los Angeles 17
  • Grand Prix Charles Mensah, Escales documentaires de Libreville
  • Prix d’honneur Festival Doc Saint Louis Senegal!-
  • Meilleur documentaire – FEMI – Guadeloupe 2017
  • Mention Spéciale au Festival de Vues d’Afrique 2017 à Montréal

Director: Ousmane William Mbaye

Born 1952 in Paris, Oumane William Mbaye grows up in Djourbel and studies film in Paris at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français and at the Université de Paris VIII Vincennes. His takes his first steps in cinema as an assistant to Senegalese filmmakers Ben Diogaye Beye (“Les princes noirs de Saint-Germain-des-Prés") and Ousmane Sembene ("Ceddo"). His first short film “L’enfant de Ngatch” (1979) is awarded the Bronze Tanit at the Carthage International Festival. Besides numerous cooperation projects with his friends Samba Félix N'Diaye, Amet Diallo, Joseph Ramaka, Cheikh Ngaïdo Bâ, Pierre Yaméogo and Moussa Bathily, he continues to make his own movies: "Pain sec" (1981), "Dakar Clando" (1989), "Dial Diali et Fresque" (1992), "Xalima la plume" (2003), "Fer et Verre" (2005) and "Mère-Bi" (2008). A committed filmmaker, he coordinates the famous Rencontres Cinématographiques de Dakar (RECIDAK) between 1990-1997. His film "President Dia" in 2012 received, among other awards, the Golden Tanit at the Carthage Festival and the bronze award (Documentary Section) at FESPACO.

Editor & Producer: Laurence Attali

Laurence Attali studies philosophy and film at the Sorbonne University in Paris, but quickly turns to film editing and works as chief editor for film and television. At the same time, she teaches her craft at the National Audiovisual Institute in France as well as in other parts of the world. She starts directing in 1991 with the series "La petite minute de bonheur". Sent to Senegal for an expert mission in 1993, she returns there to direct her first documentary "Mourtala Diop voyageur de l'art". Here begins an incessant back and forth between Paris and Dakar from where she carries out most of her films:  "Sénégalais Sénégalaise"(1994) "Regarde Amet" (1995) "Petit Pays" (1997) "Moustapha Dimé" (1999), The Trilogy of Love: "Même le vent", Baobab", "Le Déchaussé" (1999-2003, "Le temps d'un film"(2007). Since 2000, she has edited and produced all of Ousmane William Mbaye's documentaries. Living in Dakar, she obtains Senegalese nationality in 2004.

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