Until his tragic death in an air crash, David Diop (1927-1960) was regarded as one of the most talented and promising of the younger generation of poets associated with the cultural movement known as Negritude. This movement was devoted to defining and expressing the special, distinctive cultural characteristics of black people and then to asserting the worth of those characteristics. Much of Diop's poetry reflects his strong anti-colonial stance.


David Diop

Africa my Africa

Africa of the bold warriors roaming ancestral plains

Africa whose praise my grandmother sings

Beside her distant river

Never have I known you

But my glance is filled with your blood

Your fine black blood scattered over the fields

Blood of your sweat

Sweat of your toil

Toil of your enslavement

Enslavement of your children

Africa tell me Africa

Can this be you this back that bends

To cringe beneath the burden of humility

This trembling red-striped back

That says yes to the lash along the noonday path

I heard a voice gravely reply

O my impetuous son that robust tree

That young tree standing there

Proudly alone among the white and faded flowers

That is Africa your Africa growing again

Growing again patiently stubbornly

Your Africa whose fruits little by little

Take on the biting taste of liberty.

Translated from the French by Norman R Shapiro

*Third World Resurgence No. 333/334, 2018, p 64