Africa My Africa by David Diop

David Diop was born in Bordeaux, France, of a Senegalese father and a Cameroonian mother.

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 humilation
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.

Diop’s strongest poetic device in this poem is that of personification.  He infuses Africa with human qualities, and talks directly to her.  He reinforces her humanity with the images of “beautiful black blood… The blood of your sweat…. The sweat of your work …your back that is unbent .”

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