Hes Poem Wallpaper: Explanation Of The Poem Africa By David Diop




Poetic appreciation is a step by step analysis of the features or the elements within a poem

The word appreciating a poem attempts to understand it in detail and therefore enjoy the sounds and purpose, the elements of the poems also differ.

There are many ways of appreciating a poem just as they are very many different elements to be found in different poems.

Since the person appreciating the poem attempts to look in the poems and the success we do not talk about what is not found in the poem rather we are satisfied by the elements within a particular poem

S – Subject matter

P – Purpose

E – Emotions/mood

C – Crafts man ship/technique / style

Can assist as the identify poetic elements in a poem the craftsmanship consist of

S – Structure

L – Language

I – imagery

M – Movement/Rhythm

S – Sound


Mandessi was born in Bordeaux, France by a Senegalese father and a Cameroonian mother. He was one of the leading lights of Negritude. He published only one book of poetry on which his fame rests. After the independence of Guinea, he went to work there as teacher. He died in a plane crash in 1960 together with his wife. The manuscript of his new book of poetry was also lost in the crash.



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

The slavery of your children

Africa tell me Africa

Is this your 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 son that three young and strong

That tree there

In splendid loneliness amidst white and faded flowers

That is Africa your Africa

That grows again patiently obstinately

And its fruit gradually acquire

The bitter taste of liberty



The poem is about a person who has lived away from his continent (Africa) therefore he does not know it well.

The person laments about suffering of Africans who works like slave and their blood and sweat plus those of their children irrigate the fields. The person compares Africa with an impressive lonely tee in the middle of the white and fade fowlers. The tree(Africa) has produced fruit which has gradually acquired the test of Liberty



The persona portrays the exploitation done to the Africans who was treated like slaves because they worked and sweated for their masters to enjoy. For instance in stanza two

“your beautiful……………………

The message we get from this poem is that

All forms of exploitation should be banned in the society

  1. UNITY

We see the essence of unity as the oppressed Africans who decide to mobilize themselves and form the warriors in order to fight for the liberation of their continent for instance in 1st stanza the 2nd verse the persona says

“Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs. The message is that, unity is important to the oppressed so as to end oppression in the society


The personal shows humiliation to Africans as the Africans were treated as if they are not human. While they are in their own continent. For example in 3rd stanza verse 1,2,3 and the person says,

“ is this your 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”.

The message from this theme is that, all people are the same under. The sun so they deserve equal treatment


This show that the person has realized that though he was not born and grew in Africa still he is an Africa because of the African blood which flows in his vein. As we observe it
in 1st stanza, 5th and 6th verses. The message we get is, “we need to be aware and proud of our origin”.


The poet shows sacrifice made by African warriors who were whipped and shed their blood in ancestral savannahs, the savannah where their blood irrigated the fields but they never give up the fight. We observe this in 1st stanza the 2nd verse.

The message we get,

“we need to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of the society”.


The poet shows alienation of those who were born and live in foreign countries like the poet himself so these people who are born and grow in Diaspora they find themselves alienated because they do not enjoy the way indigenous do in their home countries in 1st stanza the 5th verse the personal says

“I have never known you”

In this verse we see that the poet he could know his place of his origin and enjoy his home land as the whites do in their home land.

The message from this theme is that “people should remember their place of origin even if they are born and grow in other places which are not the place of their origin”.


In this poem we see movement done by the African warriors so as to get rid of the colonial regime. For instance in 4th stanza the last four verses the person says

“That is Africa your Africa

That grows again patiently obstinately

and its fruit gradually acquire the bitter test of Liberty”

The message from this theme is that, “mobilization, self-sacrifice and until are very important when struggling for liberation in any society


Sound devices

                               i.            ALLITERATION

This is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of the words in the same verse. For example in the 2nd stanza the 1st verse

“your beautiful black blood………. “Also in 3rd stanza the 1st verses

“Is this your back that is bent?

This back that breaks under the weight of humiliation”

                            ii.            CONSONANCE

This is when the poet decides to repeat the same or very similar consonant sounds usually at the end of words in the same verse

“Impetuous son that tree young and strong

The sound/Å‹/ is repeated in two words

                          iii.            ASSONANCE

This is the repetition of similar vowel sounds in the same verse. For example the 1st stanza verse 4 in the words “distance” and “on the banks of the distance river”



The poet uses the words like “red scars to symbolize suffering (oppression which is done to Africans. The 3rd stanza verse 3)

“this back trembling with red scars”


Visual image where we see the poet use lonely tree represent Africa

Image of taste, the poet use words like

“the bitter taste of Liberty” this show this reflects the bitter feeling that African warriors had against the colonialist. For instance the last stanza in the last verse


Africa as a continent is given human character as it seems that the continent speaks like a human being for example in the 2nd stanza the last verse the persona says

“Africa tell me Africa”

Mood of the poem

The mood of the poem can be sad or sympathetic due to exploitation, humiliation, oppression etc done by the colonialists

Tone of the poet

The tone is bitter this is due to the fact that the themes revealed tell about the condition of the oppressed Africa.


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