“Scalp” de Aimé Césaire

Aime Cesaire
Aime Cesaire

I am posting here, a poem by the great poet founder of the negritude movement, the Francophone poet Aimé Césaire from Martinique.  The breadth of Césaire’s work is amazing.  He has published over 100 poems.  The poem “Scalp” is one of them.  Enjoy!


Il est minuit

les sorciers ne sont pas encore venus

les montagnes n’ont pas fondu

ai-je assez dit à la terre

de ne pas s’installer par crainte de l’insolation?

Me serrerai-je la gorge avec une corde faite du lierre de mes murmures?

poissons cueilleuses de l’eau et son réceptacle

c’est par-dessus vos têtes que je parle

comme les étoiles dans la bave du miel de ses mauvais rêves et la terre elle a enfanté sous nous

C’est vrai que j’ai laissé mes ongles

en pleine chair de cyclone

parmi le fracas des hannetons gros et jusqu’à faire jaillir le jaune neuf d’un sperme me jetant sous son ventre pour mesurer mon rut


par le sang dur du viol

entre deux criminels

je sais l’heure celui

qui meurt

celui qui s’en va

Mais un mais moi

enserré dans la touffe qui m’endort

et par la grâce des chiens

sous le vent innocent et déplisseur des lianes

héros de chasse casqué d’un oiseau d’or



It is midnight

the sorcerers have not yet come

the mountains have not melted

have I sufficiently told the earth

not to set itself up in fear of sunstroke?

Shall I tighten my throat with a cord made from the ivy of my mutterings?

fish gatherers of water and its receptacle

it is above your heads that I speak

like the stars in the honey drool from my bad dreams and the earth it has birthed beneath us

It is true that I left my fingernails

full in the flesh of the cyclone

amongst the brawl of huge cockchafers even to making spurt a new yellow semen throwing myself under its belly to measure my rutting


by the hard blood of rape

between two criminals

I know the hour

he who dies

he who leaves

But one but I

enclosed in the tuft that benumbs me

and by the grace of dogs

beneath the innocent and liana-unpleating wind

a hero of the hunt helmeted with a golden bird


‘Women of Africa’ by Sekou Touré

Sekou Toure
Sekou Toure
African Woman
African Woman

So many of our revolutionary leaders have written books, poems, and essays.  The great Thomas Sankara, our African Che and president of Burkina Faso, wrote about empowering women, people, getting away from debt, and the Burkinabé revolution.  Amilcar Cabral not only wrote poems, but also revolutionary essaysAgostinho Neto, the first president of Angola, also wrote poetry, just as Senegal’s first president Leopold Sedar Senghor.  So it seems quite natural to find out that Sekou Touré, the grandson of Samori Touré, the only African president to say ‘NO‘ to France and de Gaulle, also wrote poetry.  So here, I leave you with a poem by Sekou Touré, on Women of Africa, and their rightful place in the revolution.

Women of Africa,

Women of the Revolution!

You will rise up to apex

You will journey endlessly

At a walking pace of the social Revolution,

To the rhythm of cultural progress,

In the train of economic boom

To the great and beautiful city

Of the exacting ends

And were in leading

Your brothers, your husbands and

your children…

Women of Africa,

Women of the Revolution!

Equality is not offered,

It must be conquered.

To emancipate the women

Is to rid the society

Of its blemishes, its deformities

The conquest of science,

The mastery of Techniques

Will open to the Women the way

That of intra-social combat

Rendering her “subject and no longer object”.

-Ahmed Sekou Toure

‘Sous-Developpement’ de Charles Ngande / ‘Under-development’ by Charles Ngande

Corruption_2Thinking about all the wasted years of corruption, mismanagement, neo-colonialism, nepotism, and all the -isms going on in many African countries after independence, I thought of sharing with you this poem by the Cameroonian author Charles Ngande.  The poem can be found in Anthologie Négro Africaine by Lilyan Kesteloot, Edicef 1992, P. 329.  The English translation is offered to you by Dr. Y., http://www.afrolegends.com


J’ai croqué tous mes rêves

Dans les fragiles écuelles de nos indépendances,


Dans les fauteuils

Des banques étrangères!


I chewed all my dreams

In the fragile bowls of our independences,


In the armchairs

Of foreign banks!

“Je vous Remercie Mon Dieu” de Bernard B. Dadie / “I Thank You God” from Bernard Binlin Dadie

Today, We will look at a poem by the most celebrated Ivorian writer Bernard Binlin Dadié.  The poem below is titled “I Thank you God” or “I thank you my God,” and it is an ode to us Africans, raising the self-esteem.  Dadié writes here about his pride of being born Black, around independence, when the colonizer had almost beaten out of us our pride of being Black, our pride of being ‘us’.  Enjoy! a great poem from Bernard B. Dadié.

Je vous remercie mon Dieu,             de m’avoir créé Noir,
d’avoir fait de moi
la somme de toutes les douleurs,
mis sur ma tête,
le Monde.
J’ai la livrée du Centaure
Et je porte le Monde depuis le premier matin.

Le blanc est une couleur de circonstance
Le noir, la couleur de tous les jours
Et je porte le Monde depuis le premier soir.

Je suis content
de la forme de ma tête
faite pour porter le Monde,
de la forme de mon nez
Qui doit humer tout le vent du Monde,
de la forme de mes jambes
Prêtes à courir toutes les étapes du Monde.

Je vous remercie mon Dieu, de m’avoir créé Noir,
d’avoir fait de moi,
la somme de toutes les douleurs.
Trente-six épées ont transpercé mon coeur.
Trente-six brasiers ont brûlé mon corps.
Et mon sang sur tous les calvaires a rougi la neige,
Et mon sang à tous les levants a rougi la nature.

Je suis quand même
Content de porter le Monde,
Content de mes bras courts
de mes bras longs
de l’épaisseur de mes lèvres.

Je vous remercie mon Dieu, de m’avoir créé Noir,
Je porte le Monde depuis l’aube des temps
Et mon rire sur le Monde,
dans la nuit
crée le jour.

I thank you God,                               for making me black,
for making me
the sum of all pains,
putting on my head
the world.
I took the world to the Centaur
And I have carried the world since the first morning.

White is a color of                               circumstance
Black is the color of every day
And I have carried the world since the first evening.

I am happy
with the shape of my head
shaped to carry the world,
with the shape of my nose
which has to smell all the scents of the world,
with the shape of my legs
ready to run all the steps of the           world.

I thank you God, for having created me black
for having made me
the sum of all pains.
Thirty-six swords have pierced my heart.
Thirty-six brasiers have burned my body.
And my blood for all the suffering reddened the snow,
And my blood made the                      east red.

I am still
Happy to carry the world,
happy with my short arms
                of my long arms
                        of my thick lips.

I thank you God, for having created me black,
I carry the world since the beginning of times
And my laughter on the world,
                 at night
                      created the day.

‘African Woman’ by Swabi Mnisi

A true African beauty: Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba
A true African beauty: Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba

I stumbled across this poem which praises the African beauty, that of: our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, and our wives.  It is true that the African standard of beauty has now become the world standard of beauty.  Women around the world want to have lips like Angelina Jolie, when we, Africans were blessed with real luscious lips.  Western media emphasize J-Lo‘s big butt, when the African woman was naturally born bootylicious.  Men love women with nice curves like Halle Berry … well, I guess God was truly showing off when He created the Black woman.  Enjoy ‘African Woman’ by Swabi Mnisi.

You, with big butt and small waist
Those goodies wrapped in unequalled curves
Fat lips that produce a mouth watering kiss
With that black face and woolly hair
You are my African queen

The she-hero, Saartjie Bartman stood her ground
In the mist of derogation, she remained proud
Her bums defied western notions
Big became beautiful and Africa a fishing pond
Thanks to the African queen

Africa is blessed to have you, don’t disappoint
You are the only species with big booty
The only one with resilient black skin
So please do not bleach, you are a queen

by Swabi Mnisi

Celebrating Angola’s National Heroes Day

Agostinho Neto
Agostinho Neto
Flag of Angola
Flag of Angola

Angolans are marking this  Monday the National Heroes’ Day, in homage to the country’s first president, the late Dr. Agostinho Neto, who was born on 17 September 1922 in Kaxicane locality.  Celebrate with me Angola’s National Heroes’ Day by enjoying a poem by Angola’s greatest poet, and its first president.


Criar criar
criar no espírito criar no músculo

criar no nervo
criar no homem criar na massa
criar com os olhos secos
Criar criar
sobre a profanação da floresta
sobre a floresta impúdica do chicote
criar sobre o perfume dos troncos serrados
criar com os olhos secos
Criar criar
gargalhadas sobre o escárneo da palmatória
coragem nas pontas das botas do roceiro
força no esfrangalhado das portas violentadas
firmeza no vermelho sangue da insegurança
criar com os olhos secos

Criar criar
estrelas sobre o camartelo guerreiro
paz sobre o choro das crianças
paz sobre o suor sobre a lágrima do contrato
paz sobre o ódio
criar paz com os olhos secos
Criar criar
criar liberdade nas estradas escravas
algemas de amor nos caminhos paganizados do amor
sons festivos sobre o balanceio dos corpos em forcas simuladas
criar amor com os olhos secos.




Create create
create in mind create in muscle

create in nerve create in man create in the masses
create with dry eyes
Create create
over the profanation of the forest
over the shameless fortress of the whip create over the scent of sawn trunks

create with dry eyes
Create create
laughter over the scorn of the palmatoria courage in the tips of the planter’s boots strength in the splintering of battered-in doors firmness in the red blood of insecurity
create with dry eyes
Create create
stars over the warrior’s sledge-hammer peace over children’s weeping peace over the sweat the tears of forced labour peace over hatred
create peace with dry eyes

Create create
create freedom on slave highways
manacles of love on the paganised

paths of love
festive sounds over bodies swinging on simulated gallows create
create love with dry eyes.


‘Love Poem for my Country’ by Sandile Dikeni

An antelope at dusk
An antelope at dusk in the African Savannah

In the past I have always wished that we, Africans, could be patriotic.  I came across this beautiful poem ‘Love poem for my country‘ by South African writer Sandile Dikeni.  I really enjoy the way the author describes his country, the valleys, the birds, the ancient rivers, and its beauty.  He feels the peace, the wealth, and the health his country brings.  He is one with his country.  He is at home!  His country is not just words or food, or friends, or family, it is more, it is his essence!  That is true patriotism, the bond that links us to the bone to our motherland.  Enjoy!

My country is for love
so say its valleys
where ancient rivers flow
the full circle of life
under the proud eye of birds
adorning the sky.

My country is for peace
so says the veld
where reptiles caress
its surface
with elegant motions
glittering in their pride

My country
is for joy
so talk the mountains
with baboons
hopping from boulder to boulder
in the majestic delight
of cliffs and peaks

My country
is for health and wealth
see the blue of the sea
and beneath
the jewels of fish
deep under the bowels of soil
the golden voice
of a miner’s praise
for my country

My country
is for unity
feel the millions
see their passion
their hands are joined together
there is hope in their eyes

we shall celebrate

by Sandile Dikeni

‘Ils Sont Venus’ de François Sengat-Kuo / ‘They Came’ by François Sengat-Kuo

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884
Le partage de l'Afrique à la Conférence de Berlin de 1884

As we talk about neo-colonialism, and the new conquest of Africa, I thought about sharing this poem ‘They Came‘ by the Cameroonian writer François Sengat-Kuo published in Fleurs de Latérite, Heures Rouges Éditions Clé, 1971.  In the poem, he talks about colonization and how Africans were fooled by European missionaries who were always preceding European explorers and armies.  I particularly like the sentence: “they came, … bible on hand, guns behind.”  How true! In the days of colonization, Europeans claimed to be bringing civilization and christianity to pagans across the globe.  Today, they bring development, globalization, and democracy…  same ol’ thing → submission and slavery of the people.  Enjoy!

Ils sont venus

au clair de lune

au rythme du tam-tam

ce soir-là comme toujours

l’on dansait

l’on riait

brillant avenir

ils sont venus


bibles sous le bras

fusils en mains

les morts se sont entassés

l’on a pleuré

et le tam-tam s’est tu

silence profond comme la mort


They came

by the light of the moon

to the rhythm of the tam-tam

that night as always

we were dancing

we were laughing

brilliant future

they came


bibles under the arm

guns in hand

the dead bodies piled up

we cried

and the tam-tam was silenced

profound silence like death

Fire and Rhythm (Fogo e ritmo) by Agostinho Neto

Agostinho Neto
Agostinho Neto

Agostinho Neto was the a medical doctor, a poet, and most importantly the first president of Angola. Today, I would like you to sit back and enjoy a poem written by this great African leader

Fogo e ritmo

Sons de grilhetas nas estradas

cantos de pássaros

sob a verdura úmida das florestas

frescura na sinfonia adocicada

dos coqueirais


fogo no capim

fogo sobre o quente das chapas do Cayatte.

Caminhos largos

cheios de gente cheios de gente

em êxodo de toda a parte

caminhos largos para os horizontes fechados

mas caminhos

caminhos abertos por cima

da impossibilidade dos braços.





Ritmo na luz

ritmo na cor

ritmo no movimento

ritmo nas gretas sangrentas dos pés descalços

ritmo nas unhas descarnadas

Mas ritmo


Ó vozes dolorosas de África!


Fire and rhythm

The sound of chains on the roads

the songs of birds

under the humid greenery of the forest

freshness in the smooth symphony

of the palm trees


fire on the grass

fire on the heat of the Cayatte plains

Wide paths

full of people full of people

an exodus from everywhere

wide paths to closed horizons

but paths

paths open atop

the impossibility of arm



tum tum


Rhythm in light

rhythm in color

rhythm in movement

rhythm in the bloody

cracks of bare feet

rhythm on torn nails

yet rhythm


Oh painful African voices



Afrique de David M. Diop / Africa by David M. Diop

African tree at dusk
African tree at dusk

This poem by David Mandessi Diop was my favorite. By the time I was 9 years old, I knew it by heart…  I loved it so much! It symbolizes so much about Africa, and the love we, all African children, should have for her. Oh how I wish David Diop had lived longer to see the effect of his ‘ode to Africa‘ on other generations. Enjoy!!!


Afrique mon Afrique
Afrique des fiers guerriers dans les savanes ancestrales
Afrique que me chantait ma grand-mère
Au bord de son fleuve lointain
Je ne t’ai jamais connue
Mais mon regard est plein de ton sang
Ton beau sang noir à travers les champs répandu
Le sang de ta sueur
La sueur de ton travail
Le travail de l’esclavage
L’esclavage de tes enfants
Afrique dis-moi Afrique
Est-ce donc toi ce dos qui se courbe
Et se couche sous le poids de l’humilité
Ce dos tremblant à zébrures rouges
Qui dit oui au fouet sur les routes de midi
Alors gravement une voix me répondit
Fils impétueux cet arbre robuste et jeune
Cet arbre là -bas
Splendidement seul au milieu de fleurs blanches et fanées
C’est l’Afrique ton Afrique qui repousse
Qui repousse patiemment obstinément
Et dont les fruits ont peu à peu
L’amère saveur de la liberté. 
Africa my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this your back that is unbent
This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying no to the whip under the midday sun
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.