Mandabi (French: Le Mandat, "The Money Order") is a 1968 film written and directed by Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène. The film is based on Sembène's novel The Money-Order and is the director's first film in his native Wolof language. Since most of the Senegalese population do not understand French, Sembène wanted to create cinema for Wolof speakers. This is believed to be the first full-length African language film from West Africa.[1]

Mandabi poster (French).jpg
French poster
Directed byOusmane Sembène
Written byOusmane Sembène
Produced byOusmane Sembène
StarringMakhourédia Guèye
Ynousse N'Diaye
Isseu Niang
CinematographyPaul Soulignac
Edited byGilou Kikoïne
Max Saldinger
Release date
1968, remastered version 2021


An unemployed Senegalese Muslim, Ibrahima Dieng, lives with his two wives and seven children in Dakar. His nephew, Abdou, sends him a money order from Paris worth 25,000 francs, which he has saved from working as a street sweeper. Ibrahima is to keep some of the money for himself, save a portion for his nephew, and give a portion to his sister.

However, Ibrahima faces numerous difficulties trying to obtain the money order. Not having an ID, Ibrahima must go through several levels of Senegalese bureaucracy to try to get one, only to fail after spending money he does not have. Meanwhile, neighbors come over asking for money and Ibrahima is further indebted. In the end, he is swindled by Mbaye, his unscrupulous nephew, who promised to cash the money order for him. Mbaye sells Ibrahima's house to a French man and steals the money order, saying that he was pickpocketed. The film leaves Ibrahima in debt and without a home. The film explores themes of neocolonialism, religion, corruption, and relationships in Senegalese society.

Remastered printEdit

After the film had not been accessible to cinema audiences for years, it was remastered in 4K resolution and presented at the 2019 Lumière Festival in Lyon, France.[2] In June 2021, this remastered version was shown in cinemas in the United Kingdom.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pfaff, Francoise (1993). "The Uniqueness of Ousmane Sembène's Cinema". Contributions in Black Studies: A Journal of African and Afro-American Studies. 11: 13–19.
  2. ^ Aftab, Kaleem (9 June 2021). "Mandabi review: Wolof masterwork ripe for rediscovery". BFI. Retrieved 2021-06-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Gadjigo, Samba (April 11, 2007). Ousmane Sembène: une conscience africaine : genèse d'un destin hors du commun. Homnisphères. ISBN 9782915129243 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Hommage à Patrick G. Ilboudo". Regard. April 11, 1995 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Bory, Jean-Louis; Cluny, Claude Michel (April 11, 1972). "Dossiers du cinéma: Cinéastes". Casterman – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Wakeman, John, ed. (1987). World Film Directors Volume II: 1945-1985. The H. W. Wilson Company. p. 1005. ISBN 0824207637. Retrieved 22 December 2018.

External linksEdit