Africa (by David Diop)

The very first poem I ever read on stage

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.

Written by IBé in: Poems | Tags: ,


  • the poem is telling about what africa is

    Comment | 01/29/2011
  • Very Nice! I see it as a poem about a place or thing known of, but intimately unknown to the poet. like a father you know you must have, because you cannot “be” without one, but have never laid eyes on nor ears to the sound of his voice. Like a boy born blind trying to describe the physical beauty of his own mother. Africa exists because the poet is black; because people have told him that he, being black, came from slaves and that slaves, being black, came from Africa. Africa, then, is more what others have told the poet it is and less of what he himself wishes it to be. As I said earlier, very nice!

    Comment | 03/21/2011
  • Gerald, right about now I wish I had a Like button for comments, cos you broke this poem DOWN!!!!

    Comment | 03/25/2011
  • why the version of this poem is iba-iba ?..

    Comment | 09/19/2011
  • kang soo ki

    its about the passion of the African culture and its personifying the strength,beauty,hardship and struggle of Africa.

    Comment | 09/21/2011
  • Arthur Sibanda

    Great poem. The poet tries to bring to the open the contrast between the traditional view that always percieves Africa as weak(due to its past i.e. slave trade and colonial past) and Africa’s budding promising futer as realised in the present.

    Comment | 09/25/2011
  • Ren David

    i think the poem is great! it made all africans to awake under slavery. The author encourage all afrcans to be strong enough and fight for their freedom. He also ask for patience in waiting for that moment as they develop strength and power as the time passed.

    Comment | 10/03/2011
  • Rizadelle

    hmmmm… a very good poem, I like it,maybe I will try my best so that I can be a popular poet writer someday haha :) more power! Thank you also for a very refreshing poem and God Bless.

    Comment | 10/08/2011
  • Its good

    Comment | 10/18/2011
  • this poem was great :) . i like it so much, more power to the author :)

    Comment | 11/10/2011
  • joke the author is dead so *more power* was none sense XD peace.

    Comment | 11/10/2011
  • nice poem!

    Comment | 11/14/2011
  • my English teacher tackled about this poem today! i didn’t pay too much attention because I was sleepy until the class was dismissed for lunch. When I read poem carefully, it was very nice. African people was slaved by the whites because of the resources that the Africans have, such as the gemstones that are buried under. Ive said this because my teacher says so. And actually, I didn’t mean to hurt the Western people or the Whites because I got the source from my History Teacher. So Peace and Godspeed!

    Comment | 11/14/2011
  • juliette garduque

    in what way was thesitation of the Filipino some decades ago similar tothat of the african people describe in the poem? is the situation of the average filipino still the same today?

    Comment | 11/15/2011
  • this poem is great, but why it has so many versions?? which one is he originaL?

    Comment | 11/25/2011
  • good question. my best guess is because all English versions are translations. (The original version is in French.) You know how those be: no matter how hard the translator tries, something always get lost in translation. in general it is my opinion that when it comes to translations, especially with poetry, it is always at best guesstimates. But I hope every version you have seen, keeps the essence intact.

    Comment | 11/26/2011
  • wew

    Comment | 11/28/2011
  • it is good its explain what is africa for him!!!!!

    Comment | 11/28/2011



    Comment | 12/01/2011


    Comment | 12/01/2011
  • I don’t want to do your homework for you, but I will suggest you read the poem carefully, paying careful attention to the metaphors and imagery used. It might also help you to know a little bit about the author and his relationship with Africa. Maybe look at Gerald’s comment above. Good luck with your homework.

    Comment | 12/03/2011
  • well, i’m already done with it. thanks by the way .

    - wait , are u an African?

    Comment | 12/11/2011
  • Jenny Anne A. Dengal

    Hmmmmmmmp…what connects the speaker to his African roots?

    Comment | 12/12/2011
  • Jabir

    My teacher gave me the assignment. The question is “david diop, in his two poems,’Africa’ and ‘the vultures’ recalls the kind of experiences african people under go duaring the colonial periods,account these experiences and show how effective the poems were in relating the sadness of the poet.

    Comment | 12/14/2011
  • maris

    nice poem

    Comment | 12/25/2011
  • maris

    ahmmm.. david diop made a great and nice poem about africa whome it is his native land…

    Comment | 12/25/2011
  • germain tigol

    It is about his passion of the African culture. It talks about a guy (the author) who has never been in Africa but who remains proud of the achievements of his continent; the author also sorts of talks about his pride in how the Africans got out of slavery and about how Africa remains the bravest continent and stuff like that.

    The author later had an opportunity to contribute to the development of Africa in his adulthood. Diop taught at the Lycee Delafosse in Dakar, Senegal, and then was a secondary-school principal in Kindia, Guinea. He died, with his wife, in a plane crash over the Atlantic in the course of a flight between Dakar and France on August 25, 1960. More information on this can be obtained at

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_David_Diop's_poem_'Africa_my_Africa'_mean#ixzz1iTqaBU1O

    Comment | 01/04/2012
  • it’s really nice!

    Comment | 01/13/2012
  • i was really touched,,, africa my africa.. wanna go to africa.

    Comment | 01/13/2012
  • thank you ms. mARGelyn moncano for introducing to us the poem of david diop africa..

    Comment | 01/13/2012
  • great poem!

    Comment | 01/25/2012
  • Innocent

    This poem rends my soul, makes me feel real africa. it gives me the reason to fight on knowing that being african is a special grace which calls for continuos struggle. Ilove this poem. Kudos to David Diop

    Comment | 01/27/2012
  • oabona mogale

    its a great poem. i love it
    i realy think the poet is a black american, a son of a slave. his parent were always talking about africa,were they come from (whom my grandmother sings, on the banks of the distant river, i have never known you). take to consideration that the poet has never been to africa, he only hear his grandparents talking about it, probably the were talking adout the africa before the whites have been there.what he see is totaly different from what he is told.

    Comment | 02/01/2012
  • Waync


    Comment | 02/05/2012

    something is wrong ’bout this poem…some lines do not match with those of in the book.

    Comment | 02/06/2012

    Comment | 02/10/2012
  • Victor Anya Tom

    Its beautiful and keep it up

    Comment | 02/10/2012
  • Sir Flong

    what avery good poem…tomorrow I will discuss this with my fourth year students at Bantacan National High School.

    Comment | 02/20/2012
  • amaka

    Great writeup,

    Comment | 02/27/2012

    it is my africa and am proud of it too.i was’nt there but i know what david diop is trying to portray.he’d never been there but he’s proud of a clu about what his grand mother tells him.

    Comment | 02/29/2012
  • dreamcatcher007

    Despite the race, the author is proudly telling that racial difference isn’t the hindrance to fulfill what our goals are. With courage and aspirations, he describes how Africa acquired their freedom as our country does.

    Comment | 03/08/2012
  • senghor was trying to un package the sufferings which africa underwent and try to give an antidote to indignity,iferiority and ex-slavery.he was also fascinated by marcus gurvey who said that ‘blacks are the descendants of the greatest and proudest race who ever lived on earth’

    Comment | 04/03/2012
  • almar

    what’s the theme of it ???

    and its structure ??

    Comment | 06/06/2012
  • rommel

    can you do a slogan about africa???
    based in the poeM???

    Comment | 09/25/2012
  • what does the line “saying yes to the whip under the midday sun” mean?

    Comment | 09/29/2012
  • please answer……….

    Comment | 09/29/2012
  • As you know, I am not the poet. But as a reader, I read that line to mean two things: One as a reference to history (of slavery, or colonization, etc). but perhaps more importantly this is a question, of a child asking his mother if she is all (and only) her bad history. And of course we immediately hear the mother replying…I am much more than that! I am not only my history, look at my future “springing anew”! It’s the hopes of Africa, that was springing new when this poem was written, the period of decolonization going on all around continent.

    I hope I haven’t just answered a school assignment. If it is, I hope you dont just state MY opinion, but instead you take it as lead to arrive at YOUR understanding.

    Comment | 09/29/2012
  • yan

    his poem emphasize European attitude of prejudice and discrimination against Africans and extols the beauty of African continent and its cultural traditions. the poem is really great..

    Comment | 09/30/2012
  • john rish

    what does the line “saying yes to the whip under the midday sun” mean? what feeling does it arouse in you?do you think that is also what africa readers felt when they read the poem?

    Comment | 10/10/2012
  • .. i read the life of david mandessi diop .. and i was very impress to his story,specially to his poems by the problems of africa and when the africa colonized by spaniards ..it was very very very emotionally !!!

    Comment | 11/06/2012
  • bea marie alejo

    as i read the poem i exactly thought and make my own opinion about this and what isthe life of the author my teacher told me a while ago that david is born in france and not been in africa but his parents wherea true african people.
    it say about that if he take in heart that he is a true african people eventhoug his not born in that country.he provoke to make the people rise and not be a slave on other people that wants them to colonize and make their own country to change in better or hope in a new beginning…

    Comment | 11/06/2012
  • shimmy sheng


    Comment | 11/08/2012
  • wew

    what is da poem of africa

    Comment | 11/11/2012
  • kenneth

    what is the theme of the poem?

    Comment | 11/13/2012
  • the poem is so good

    Comment | 11/13/2012
  • in this poem I realize that we are pilipino people are not only the one who very enforced by colonizer

    even I’m pilipino I feel that present of patriotism because african fight for their freedom, if they did not fight to the colonizer I guess still now africa colonize by western!!!

    Comment | 11/14/2012
  • HOw to role play this kind of poetry…??

    Comment | 11/17/2012
  • emy

    what does the world distance symbolize?

    Comment | 11/20/2012
  • emy

    how does the poet reminises africa as is homeland?

    Comment | 11/20/2012
  • nice!!!!

    Comment | 11/21/2012
  • i love tihs because this africa
    is one of my assignment…
    im so exited to perform my assignment

    Comment | 11/21/2012
  • bjan

    what kind of discrimnation exists in african society?
    plss answer

    Comment | 11/23/2012
  • Jovial

    if you watch the movie the roots. you will know what is the history of africans that is abducted by americans to be their slaves. search for it and find out.

    Comment | 11/26/2012
  • ..that`s good !!in our class,.that poem are talking up to….

    Comment | 11/27/2012
  • i mean,,..that poem is very good !!
    that poem is what are we talking in our class…

    Comment | 11/27/2012
  • Adewale Fowowe

    Africa, my father’s land. I love Africa. I want to commend the efort of the poet for sitting down to think and come up with this meaningful poem, I wanted to say more power to your elbow, but unfortunately RIP, till we meet and depart no more.

    Comment | 04/26/2013
  • Wolof-King

    The writer David Diop was biracial, his father was Senegalese and mother French. This poem as most Africans born out of African can relate on, is about self dicovery. David Diop was raised in Europe and felt disconnected with father’s land. He wrote this when he went home to Senegal.

    Comment | 05/20/2013
  • Gboluwaga Tayo. M

    i love this poem. i learnt this poem over tem years ago. The line ‘i have never known you but your blood flows in my veins’ makes this poem remain forever in my memory. Great Author.

    Comment | 05/23/2013
  • Maame

    It tells of the suffering, struggling, humiliation and yet, the passion, the strength and hope of African. This poem brings to light the endurance of mother Africa.Despite oppression, she holds on to her values, norms and tradition. wherever she goes.no matter how far or how long she stays.Never will she forget.
    Long Live Africa, The Land of our Birth!!!
    i love the Poet and the poem

    Comment | 06/12/2013
  • Banke Anselem

    I love this poem it has always been my best. i remember my teacher made me memorized it some twenty-two years ago. still fresh in my memory. GBS David Diop.

    Comment | 06/27/2013
  • katlego

    David,honestly you are one the most talented poets in AfrÍca

    Comment | 07/30/2013
  • allarde

    can i ask something?
    why did Diop say “beautiful black blood” then?
    is this paradoxical or contradictory but true?

    Comment | 08/07/2013
  • a splendid poem that captures the experiences of African continent.and with a powerful image of a young tree among white and faded flowers portrays Africa as a virgin and fertile continent whose power and glory can best be imagined

    Comment | 08/27/2013
  • rachel Ernest

    i have read the poem,and i have found that the persona is so proud being an African man though he/has never been in Africa. Also this poem talks about colonization and slavery of African people in those days. But also the person seem very happy simply because Africa is now coming up with progress which is highly fetched out with straggle. yet the persona holds some hope for the future.

    Comment | 10/31/2013
  • The poem was read by one of my friend during our Literary and Debating society day in 1997.I was really touch by that time.
    The poet described the strength of Africa and suffering of our ancestors from the colonial masters and got τ̲̅ȍ a stage started to soliloquize.
    Then a voice came from nowhere and make him τ̲̅ȍ understand that the little child(ren) are the Africa who is going τ̲̅ȍ set Africa free from slavery with time.

    Comment | 11/07/2013
  • Ezequiel

    This Poem is all about Discrimination between white people to black people!

    Comment | 12/02/2013
  • Blank page

    David diop is one of the Africa’s foremost poets.He envisioned an Africa free from poverty,slavery and oppression.He dreamed about a free Africa,where people and animals can roam freely……and the poem is majestically great

    Comment | 12/10/2013
  • Haneefman

    …. really love the poem. The poet talks on the then covered beauty of the Africa and proceed to the challenges faced by the then people by the colonials master which leads o her beauty shown throug us the present Africans……..

    Comment | 01/14/2014
  • this poem is very meaningful coz its tell about the africa’s country

    im in grade 8 student from eastern bacoor national high school and this poem was choose by our teacher to perform as a speech choir and its so amaze for me and also for all my classmate to perform this poem. . . thats all ^^

    Comment | 01/15/2014
  • Lugema

    Diop by the way he was in love with africa though he ddnt born in africa and we can call it as a patriotism which means he was ready to die for africa.

    Comment | 01/22/2014
  • Franknaros

    Had the privilege of reading this awesome poem on stage once in primary school too and it’s never left me. Even though it’s been over 25yrs, it comes to mind every now and then with a lot of meanings. Great poem!

    Comment | 05/09/2014
  • babu ngosha

    Peace y’all,the tone of the poem is sadness because the poet comprise his poem with words like humiliation,red scars and end up with slowing tone of “Africa,tell me Africa”nice poem

    Comment | 07/18/2014
  • wale

    I read this poem first when I was in JSS 1( first year in high schl). I read it on my own and I didn’t quiet get the message. But as years rolled by, the message became vivid. I think being an African is the best thing that had happened to me. Troubles don’t break Africans,it make them stronger. RIP David Diop.

    Comment | 12/29/2014
  • wale

    please like my page on facebook; African Youths Revolutionary Vanguard. Lets help kick out bad leadership from African countries.

    Comment | 12/29/2014
  • why africa’s their back is bent???

    Comment | 01/21/2015
  • why is Africa’s back bent?

    Comment | 01/25/2015

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