African Joke: The Sharp Father

African Venus, a sculpture by Charles-Henri Joseph Cordier 1851 (Source: Walters Art Museum)
African Venus, a sculpture by Charles-Henri Joseph Cordier 1851 (Source: Walters Art Museum)

A teenage girl is seated next to her father in the house when she suddenly sees her boyfriend approaching. Knowing that her father is very strict, she decides to strike a conversation with the boyfriend.

Girl: Have you come to borrow the book titled “DAD IS IN THE HOUSE?” by Jean Pliya.

Boyfriend: No, I want your book of songs called “WHERE SHOULD I WAIT FOR YOU?” by Bernard Dadié.

Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe

Girl: Oh. I don’t have it, but I have the one titled “UNDER THE MANGO TREE” by Chinua Achebe.

Boyfriend: Good. But please don’t forget to bring “I WILL CALL YOU IN 5 MINUTES” by Aimé Césaire, when you come to school.

Girl: Ok. I will bring Olympe Bhêly-Quenum’s new book “I WILL NEVER ABANDON YOU.”

The father (to his daughter): these are a lot of books, will he read them all?

Severin Cecile Abega
“Les Bimanes” by Severin Cecile Abega

Girl: Yes. He is good and excellent reader.

The father: Ok. Don’t forget to take to him the book titled, “I AM NOT STUPID, I UNDERSTOOD EVERYTHING” by Cheikh Hamidou Kane, and also the one which is called “BE READY TO GET MARRIED IF YOU GET PREGNANT” by Séverin Cécile Abega.

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Note: Jean Pliya, Bernard Dadié, Chinua Achebe, Aimé Césaire, Olympe Bhêly-Quenum, Séverin Cécile Abega, and Cheikh Hamidou Kane are all great African writers.

Bernard Dadié on African Immigration and the Return

African tears
Dry your tears Africa
Sèche tes pleurs Afrique!
Tes enfants te reviennent
dans l’orage et la tempête des voyages infructueux.

Sèche tes pleurs, Afrique!
Tes enfants te reviennent
Les mains pleines de jouets
Et le coeur plein d’amour.
Ils reviennent te vêtir
De leurs rêves et de leurs espoirs.

Dry your tears, Afrika!
Your Children come back to you
Out of the storm and squalls of fruitless journeys.

Dry your tears, Afrika!
Your children come back to you
Their hand full of playthings
And their heart full of love
They return to clothe you
In their dreams in their hopes

 

With the end of the ‘year of return‘, I think parts of the poem above by Bernard Binlin Dadié are appropriate and perfect to talk about African immigration and illustrate the return. Africa’s children are coming back, and they are coming to contribute, and also to build her… this applies to those of the diaspora whose ancestors made it to the new world in ships of the Mali emperor’s (Kankan Musa‘s predecessor) or via slave ships, or simply to recent African immigration to other part of the world: Africa needs you, and together, united, we have the potential to usher in a new positive era.  Excerpts above are from the poem titled “Dry your Tears Africa” or “Sèche Tes Pleurs,” published in 1967 by Bernard Dadié“Seche Tes Pleurs” de Bernard Binlin Dadié / “Dry your Tears Afrika” by Bernard B. Dadié

Proud to be Black: A Quote by Bernard Dadié

Mwekassa1
Zack Mwekassa, Former World Champion of Boxing and Kick Boxing (Source: Glory KickBoxing)

Je vous remercie mon Dieu, de m’avoir créé Noir, … Je suis content de la forme de ma tête faite pour porter le Monde, Satisfait de la forme de mon nez Qui doit humer tout le vent du Monde, Heureux de la forme de mes jambes Prêtes à courir toutes les étapes du Monde.

I thank you God, for making me black, I am happy with the shape of my head shaped to carry the world, Satisfied with the shape of my nose which has to smell all the scents of the world, Happy with the shape of my legs ready to run all the steps of the world.

Bernard Binlin Dadié.  The poem above is titled “I Thank you God” or “I thank you my God,”

A Quote from Bernard Dadié: “Thank You God for Making me Black”

Laughter_1
Rire / Laughter

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

Aube_1
Aube / Dawn

Bernard Binlin Dadié.  The poem below is titled “I Thank you God” or “I thank you my God,” “Je vous Remercie Mon Dieu” de Bernard B. Dadie / “I Thank You God” from Bernard Binlin Dadie

A Quote from Bernard Dadié from ‘The Lines of Our Hands’

Les lignes de la main
Les lignes de la main / The Lines of the hand

Les lignes de nos mains sont des lignes de Vie, de Destin, de Coeur, d’Amour. De douces chaînes qui nous lient les uns aux autres, Les vivants aux morts.

The lines of our hands Are life lines Destiny lines, Heart lines, Love lines. Soft chains Which bind us One to the other, The living to the dead.

Bernard Dadié in ‘Les lignes de nos mains’ published in La Ronde des Jours, Edition Pierre Seghers, 1956. The English translation is by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com. [Note: punctuation was added to write in one line the first sentence].

So long to an African Literary Genius: Bernard Dadié

Bernard Dadie
Bernard Dadié

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of the great Ivorian writer Bernard Binlin Dadié. Bernard Dadié was a Baobab of African literature, and he was 103 years of age at the time of his passing. On his 100th-year birthday, he had complained of not being able to write as much anymore, given that he still had so much to say! Dadié was a literary virtuoso who brilliantly explored many genres from poetry, to fiction, to theater.

Many have wondered what was the secret of his longevity, and “his children always thought that Dadié was able to surmount all those obstacles and live so long because he was deeply in love with his wife,” said Serge Bilé [« Ses enfants ont toujours pensé qu’il a pu traverser toutes ces épreuves et vivre si longtemps car il était amoureux de sa femme » Jeune Afrique] writer, journalist, and whose mother was a cousin of Assamala Dadié (Dadié’s wife).

Map of Cote d'Ivoire
Map of  Côte d’Ivoire

Dadié was born in Assinie, Côte d’Ivoire, and attended the local Catholic school in Grand Bassam and then the Ecole William Ponty. He worked for the French government in Dakar, Senegal. Upon returning to his homeland in 1947, he became part of its movement for independence: he denounced colonialism and neo-colonialism. Before Côte d’Ivoire‘s independence in 1960, he was detained for sixteen months for taking part in demonstrations that opposed the French colonial government.

Bernard Dadie_Climbie
Climbié by Bernard Dadié

Climbié, his most well-known novel was published in 1956, and was the first Ivorian fiction. With his theater piece The cities (Les Villes), played in Abidjan in April 1934, Dadié gave Francophone Africa its first drama piece. I am sure there were others played in the olden ancestral days, but this was the first one written in  Molière’s language. He was also the first to win the great literary price of Black Africa (le grand prix littéraire de l’Afrique noire) twice in 1965 with Boss of New York (Patron de New York, Présence Africaine, 1964), and The City where No One Dies (La Ville où nul ne meurt, Présence Africaine, 1969) in 1968. His other big novels are:  Le Pagne noir – Contes africains (1955), Un Nègre à Paris (Présence Africaine, 1959), Les voix dans le vent (1970), Monsieur Thôgô-Gnini (1970) ou les poèmes du recueil La rondes des jours (1956). In recent years, his poem “Dry Your Tears Afrika” (“Seche Tes Pleurs” de Bernard Binlin Dadié / “Dry your Tears Afrika” by Bernard B. Dadié) was set to music by American composer John Williams for the Steven Spielberg movie Amistad. Lastly, a street bears his name in Abidjan.

Bernard Dadie_Le Pagne noir
Le Pagne Noir – Contes Africains by Bernard Dadié

Among many other senior positions, starting in 1957, he held the post of Minister of Culture in the government of Côte d’Ivoire from 1977 to 1986. As a twist on fate, next week will come out in Côte d’Ivoire, a book titled 100 writers pay tribute to Dadié (100 écrivains rendent hommage à Dadié) in the Éburnie éditions. Bernard Dadié is the symbol of Côte d’Ivoire‘s deep and rich culture, marking a literary resistance to colonialism and neo-colonialism, and a strong love for his people, continent, and race

I live you here with the link to his poem “I Thank you God” which we had published a while back: “Je vous Remercie Mon Dieu” de Bernard B. Dadie / “I Thank You God” from Bernard Binlin Dadie. Yes, we thank God for his son Bernard Dadié who has graced this earth and shown us the way, revived our pride, and dried our tears (“Seche Tes Pleurs” de Bernard Binlin Dadié / “Dry your Tears Afrika” by Bernard B. Dadié). I would like to tell all those who mourn him, that the fierce spirit of Bernard Dadié lives on, and we are his legacy which we should uphold.

‘Les lignes de nos mains’ / ‘The Lines of Our Hands’ by Bernard Dadié

Bernard Dadie
Bernard Dadie (Source: Presence Africaine)

One of Côte d’Ivoire’s most prolific writer is, without a doubt,  Bernard Binlin Dadié, the maestro. Some of his poems have been translated in many languages, while others have been set to music for movies, such as “Dry your tears” which was set to music for the Steven Spielberg movie Amistad. Bernard Dadié is a man whose work and versatility have blessed countless people around the globe.

Please enjoy ‘Les lignes de nos mains / The Lines of Our Hands‘ which was published in La Ronde des Jours, Edition Pierre Seghers, 1956. The English translation is by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com.

 

 

Les Lignes de nos mains‘ /  ‘The Lines of Our Hands‘ by Bernard Dadié

Les lignes de nos mains

Ne sont point des parallèles

des chemins de montagnes

des gerçures sur troncs d’arbres

des traces de luttes homériques.

 

Les lignes de nos mains

ne sont point des longitudes

des boyaux en tranchées

des sillons dans des plaines

des raies en chevelures

des pistes dans la broussaille

 

Elles ne sont point

des ruelles pour les peines

des canaux pour les larmes

des rigoles pour les haines

des cordes pour pendus

ni des portions

ni des tranches

ni des morceaux

        De ceci… de cela…

 

Les lignes de nos mains

        ni Jaunes

        Noires

        Blanches

ne sont point des frontières

des fosses entre nos villages

des filins pour lier des faisceaux de rancoeurs.

 

Les lignes de nos mains

sont des lignes de Vie

       de Destin

       de Coeur

       d’Amour.

de douces chaînes

qui nous lient

les uns aux autres,

Les vivants aux morts.

 

Les lignes de nos mains

        ni blanches

        ni noires

        ni jaunes,

 

Les lignes de nos mains

Unissent les bouquets de nos rêves.

The Lines of Our Hands

Are not parallels

Of mountain paths

Cracks on tree trunks

Traces of Homeric battles.

 

The lines of our hands

Are not longitudes

Of trench casings

Furrows in plains

Rays in hair

Paths in the bush

 

They are not

Alleys of pain

Channels of tears

Channels of hate

Strings for hanged /lynching/hanging

Nor portions

Nor slices

Nor parts

       Of this… of that…

 

The lines of our hands

        Not yellow

        Black

        White

Are not boundaries

Pits/ditches between our villages

Ropes to bind rancor bundles.

 

The lines of our hands

Are life lines

       Destiny lines

       Heart lines

       Love lines.

Soft chains

Which bind (link) us

One to the other,

The living to the dead.

 

The lines of our hands

        Not white

        Not black

        Nor yellow,

 

The lines of our hands

Unite the bouquets of our dreams.

Chaînes de Bernard Dadié /Chains by Bernard Dadie

Dadie_1
Bernard Dadie (Abidjan.net)

Today, I thought that this poem by Bernard Dadié will be very appropriate. We wear a lot of chains, and the oppressed people of this world may want all the gags removed. Enjoy!

Chaînes

 Quelles sont lourdes, lourdes, les chaînes,

Que le Nègre met au cou du Nègre.

Pour complaire aux maîtres de l’heure.

 

De grâce n’arrêtez pas l’élan d’un peuple !

Brisons les chaînes, les carcans, les barrières, les digues.

 

Pour inonder l’univers en eaux puissantes qui balaient les iniquités.

 

Quelles sont lourdes, lourdes les chaînes

Que le Nègre met aux pieds de Nègre

Pour complaire aux maîtres du jour !

 

Lourdes, les chaînes,

lourdes, lourdes,

les chaînes que je porte aux mains.

 

Que tombent tous les baîllons du monde !!

 

Chains

 They are so heavy, heavy, the chains,

That the negro puts on the neck of the negro.

To please the masters of the hour.

 

Please do not stop the momentum of a people!

Let us break the chains, the shackles, the barriers, the dams.

 

To flood the universe with powerful waters that will sweep away iniquities.

 

They are so heavy, heavy, the chains

That the negro puts on the feet of the negro

To please the masters of the day!

 

Heavy, the chains,

Heavy, heavy,

The chains that I wear on my hands.

 

May all the gags of this world fall!

 

“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,
Satisfait
de la forme de mon nez
Qui doit humer tout le vent du Monde,
Heureux
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,
Satisfied
with the shape of my nose
which has to smell all the scents of the world,
Happy
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.

“Seche Tes Pleurs” de Bernard Binlin Dadié / “Dry your Tears Afrika” by Bernard B. Dadié

Bernard Dadie (Abidjan.net)
Bernard Dadie (Abidjan.net)

Today, We will look at a poem by the most celebrated Ivorian writer Bernard Binlin Dadié.  The poem below is titled “Dry your Tears Afrika” or “Sèche Tes Pleurs“.  Published in 1967, this poem is basically about Africa and her sons and daughters returning home.  It is about healing the wounds of slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism.  This poem was actually translated into Mende, a language spoken by ~ 46% of Sierra Leone. It was also set to music by American composer John Williams for the Steven Spielberg movie, Amistad. Below is the original poem in French, written by Dadié.  The English version can be found below.  Enjoy the text, and the video of the poem sung in Mende with the English translation.

Sèche tes pleurs Afrique!
Tes enfants te reviennent
dans l’orage et la tempête des voyages infructueux.
Sur le ris de l’onde et le babil de la brise,
Sur l’or des levants
Et la pourpre des couchants
des cimes des monts orgueilleux
Et des savanes abreuvées de lumière
Ils te reviennent
dans l’orage et la tempête des voyages infructueux. Sèche tes pleurs, Afrique
Ayant bu
À toutes les fontaines
d’infortune
et de gloire,
Nos sens se sont ouverts
à la splendeur de ta beauté
à la senteur de tes forêts,
à l’enchantement de tes eaux
à la limpidité de ton ciel
à la caresse de ton soleil
Et au charme de ta verdure emperlée de rosée.

Sèche tes pleurs, Afrique!
Tes enfants te reviennent
Les mains pleines de jouets
Et le coeur plein d’amour.
Ils reviennent te vêtir
De leurs rêves et de leurs espoirs.

Bee ya ma yee ah,
bee len geisia bee gammah.
Bee ya ma yee ah,
bee len geisia tee yamanga.
Baa wo, kah ung biah woie yaa.
Baa wo, kah ung biah woie yah, yah.
Oo be ya ma yee ah,
bee len geisia tee yamanga.
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh, Afrika.
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh, Afrika.Bee ya ma yee ah,
bee len geisia tee yamanga.
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
bee len geisia bee gammah.
Oo bee ya mah yee ah
Bee len geisia tee yamanga.
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh, Afrika.
Mu ya mah mu yah,
Mu ya mah mu yah,
Mu ya mah mu yeh, Afrika.

Be ya mah yee ah,
bee len geisia tee yamanga.
Be ya mah yee ah,
bee len geisia bee gammah.
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh, Afrika.
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh, Afrika.
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh,
Mu ya mah mu yeh, Afrika.