‘My Africa’ by Michael Dei Anang


Today I stumbled upon a poem by Ghanaian author Michael Dei Anang which made me think a lot about Cheikh Anta Diop‘s work of re-educating the world about the place of Africa in history as the cradle of humanity. Michael Dei-Anang was a member of President Kwame Nkrumah‘s (Ghana’s first president) main secretariat and was concerned with the liberation of the rest of Africa still under colonial rule, at the time. Enjoy!



My Africa


Michael Dei-Anang

When vision was short

and knowledge scant,

Men called me Dark Africa

Dark Africa?

I, who raised the regal pyramids

and held the fortunes of Conquering Caesars

In my tempting grasp.

Dark Africa?

Who nursed the doubtful child

Of civilization

On the wand’ring banks of the life-giving Nile,

And gave to the teeming nations

Of the West a Grecian gift.

“Je Serai Avec Toi” de Michael Dei Anang / ” I’ll be with Thee” by Michael Dei Anang

A box of Valentine's day chocolate
A box of Valentine’s day chocolate

Michael Jackson once asked in his great song “Will You Be There?” Well, Ghanaian author Michael Dei Anang replied by his poem: ” I’ll be with thee.”  The poem is truly about deep and everlasting love, the one that will always be there shine or freeze, no matter what happens in life.  So, whether you are in a relationship or not, whether you are thinking about love the Valentine’s way, or just looking for a friendship, think of this poem as what you should aspire to be for that other person: always there!  Enjoy!  Since I could not find the original English version, I translated it to English to share with all (French version from Anthologie Négro-Africaine by L. Kesteloot, P. 264, Edicef 1987; English translation by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com).

Je serai avec toi

Quand les étoiles scintillent dans le ciel,

Et que la lune baigne la Mer

Du flux d’argent de sa lumière

Je serai avec toi

Je serai avec toi

Qu’il fasse jour ou nuit;

Que les cieux

Soient déchirés en deux

Et que les larmes embrument nos yeux

Je serai avec toi

Quand les orages

soulèvent les vagues

Et ploient le seuil jusqu’au sol

Je serai avec toi

Dans la fournaise ou dans la tornade

Je serai avec toi

Qu’il fasse clair ou sombre,

Le jour ou la nuit,

Quand s’appesantit l’angoisse

Que tu sois loin,

Ou que tu sois près ,

je serai avec toi.

Quoique nous soyons séparés

Pour des jours,

Ou que nous allions

Ne laisses pas les peines de la vie

Mordre ton cœur.

Je serai avec toi.

A travers la gloire ou la calomnie

Je serai avec toi

Lorsque le dernier souffle de vie

S’échappera de mon corps, vieille carcasse

Condamnée à pourrir après un mortel combat;

Quand nous aurons fini notre temps

Et traversé la rivière de la vie

Laissant derrière nous notre or et notre argent

Parents, amis et regrets,

Pour rejoindre le souterrain bercail

Je t’attendrai encore

Je serai avec toi.

I’ll Be With Thee

When the stars twinkle in the sky,

And the moon bathes the Sea

The flow of money from its light

I’ll be with thee

I’ll be with thee

Day or night;

Whether the skies

are torn in two

And tears fog our eyes

I’ll be with thee

When storms

Raise waves

And bend and break up the soil

I’ll be with thee

In the furnace or in the tornado

I’ll be with thee

Whether light or dark

Day or night

When dwells anxiety

Whether you are far,

Or whether you are near,

I’ll be with thee.

Though we are apart

For days,

Wherever we go

Do not let life’s troubles

Bite your heart.

I’ll be with thee.

Through glory or slander

I’ll be with thee

When the last breath of life

Will escape my body, old carcass

Condemned to rot after a deadly combat;

When we will have ended our times

And crossed the river of life

Leaving behind us our gold and our silver

Parents, friends, and regrets,

To join the underground fold

I’ll wait again for you

I’ll be with thee.

Kofi Awoonor: Celebrating the Life of Ghanaian Poet

Kofi Awoonor
Kofi Awoonor

Today, I would like to talk about the legendary Ghanaian poet, writer, and diplomat Kofi Awoonor who lost his life this past weekend during the shootings at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

Well, many articles would tell you all about this man who was born George Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor-Williams, but who will end up using Kofi Awoonor as his pen name.  Kofi Awoonor was a poet whose poetry was based on Ewe / Ghanaian mythology and imagery.  His writings include the oral traditions of African village songs, with their various communal forms, themes, and functions/ceremonies.  For instance, his poem ‘The Purification’ records a sacrifice to the sea-god in a time of poor fishing.  One can find a sense of melancholy in his writings.  Enjoy this snippet from one of his poem ‘Songs of Sorrow.’  To learn more about this man, check this very good article on The Guardian, the BBC, and don’t forget to go to The Poetry Foundation of Ghana to read the end of this poem and other pieces by him.

Songs of Sorrow

Dzogbese Lisa has treated me thus
It has led me among the sharps of the forest

Returning is not possible
And going forward is a great difficulty
The affairs of this world are like the chameleon faeces
Into which I have stepped
When I clean it cannot go.
I am on the world’s extreme corner,
I am not sitting in the row with the eminent
But those who are lucky
Sit in the middle and forget
I am on the world’s extreme corner
I can only go beyond and forget.
My people, I have been somewhere
If I turn here, the rain beats me
If I turn there the sun burns me
The firewood of this world
Is for only those who can take heart
That is why not all can gather it.
The world is not good for anybody
But you are so happy with your fate;
Alas! the travelers are back
All covered with debt.


By Kofi Awoonor