‘Africa my Africa’ by David Diop (July 1927-1960)

Born in Bordeaux,  French West African Poet David Diop wrote poetry that reflected hope of an Africa free of colonial rulers, and in support of African Independence.

In his Poem ‘Africa my Africa,’  we can depict his pain, his struggle for understanding, and his yearning for the freedom of  black slaves. 


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 you, this back that is bent
This back that breaks
Under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying yes 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.


18 Replies to “‘Africa my Africa’ by David Diop (July 1927-1960)”

    1. Wow!!!…. Glad to come across this poem again. As a literature student, it was my favourite I memorised about 44yrs ago. Its still very fresh in my memory as I can still recite every line of the poetry like I’m reading the script in my hand now. Great!


  1. I never really understoo the deepness of this poem when we treated in in junior secondary school. Not until my exposure to negritude


    1. The first part talks about the proud history of Africa as narrated to the writer by his grandmother since he was not born on the continent. Then, it goes on to talk about the hard work and suffering of Africans in the hands of slave masters. From pains, humiliation and despair, springs eternal hope of salvation, freedom, hope & finally, liberty & dignity.
      Am neither a teacher nor a literary icon, but I hope my summary is good enough for you to have a basic understanding of the poem.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. this poem has greatly helped me to understand the negritude movement…i like it


  3. I love this poem so much, but did not understand it then its weight and pride and an African


  4. I like this poem but didn’t get it clearly can someone explain better


  5. I love this poem. I write poetry myself, but has not committed any of my poems to heart. But David Diop’s Africa is like an ENGRAVEMENT on a medal, the medal being my heart.


  6. I love and cherish this poem. I learnt the four lines.
    The poem made me appreciate and love literature.
    God bless David Diop.


  7. can anyone tell me of the place of publication of this poem?


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