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AFRICAN LITERATURE

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*African literature consists of a body of work in different languages and various genres, ranging from oral literature to literature written in colonial languages (French, Portuguese, and English).

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*Oral literature, including stories, dramas, riddles,

histories, myths, songs, proverbs, and other expressions, is frequently employed to educate and entertain children. Oral histories, myths, and proverbs additionally serve to remind whole communities of their ancestors' heroic deeds, their past, and the precedents for their customs and traditions.

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Since the early 19th cent. writers from western Africa have used newspapers to air their views. Several founded newspapers that served as vehicles for expressing nascent nationalist feelings. Their poetry not only denounced colonialism, it proudly asserted the validity of the cultures that the colonials had tried to crush.

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Africa (by David Diop) 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 This back trembling with red scars The sweat of your work And saying yes to the whip under the midday The work of your slavery sun Africa, tell me Africa But a grave voice answers me Is this you, this back that is bent Impetuous child that tree, young and strong This back that breaks That tree over there Under the weight of humiliation 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.

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David Mandessi Diop (19271960) was a revolutionary African poet born in France but with parents of West African descent. His poems highlighted problems of Africa brought about by colonialism and gave a message to Africans to bring about change and freedom. He was known for his involvement in the negritude movement in France, a movement started by Black writers and artists protesting against French colonialism and its effects of African culture and values. His views and feelings were published in "Presence Africaine" and in his book of poems "Coups de pillon" which was published in 1956. Diop died at the age of 33 in a plane crash.

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Ancestral- of previous generations: relating to something belonging to former generations of somebody's family Impetuous- acting impulsively: acting on the spur of the moment, without considering the consequences

obstinately - refusing to change: unwilling to change or give up something such as an idea or attitude
Savannah- grassy plain: a flat grassland, sometimes with scattered trees, in a tropical or subtropical country Whip- strike against something sharply:

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Africa (by David Diop) 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 This back trembling with red scars The sweat of your work And saying yes to the whip under the midday The work of your slavery sun Africa, tell me Africa But a grave voice answers me Is this you, this back that is bent Impetuous child that tree, young and strong This back that breaks That tree over there Under the weight of humiliation 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.

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AFRICA
Africa, my Africa Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs Africa of whom my grandmother sings On the banks of the distant river

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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

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Africa, tell me Africa Is this your back that is unbent This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation This back trembling with red scars And saying yes to the whip under the midday sun

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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.

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AFRICA
Africa, my Africa a Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs b Africa of whom my grandmother sings b On the banks of the distant river c

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I have never known you d But your blood flows in my veins b Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields b The blood of your sweat e The sweat of your work f The work of your slavery g

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Africa, tell me Africa a Is this your back that is unbent h This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation l This back trembling with red scars b And saying yes to the whip under the midday sun j

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But a grave voice answers me g Impetuous child that tree, young and strong k That tree over there c Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers b That is your Africa springing up anew l Springing up patiently, obstinately g Whose fruit bit by bit acquires b The bitter taste of liberty. g

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1. What is the poem about? 2. Who is speaking in the poem? 3. What emotion does it communicate? 4. Are there lines which you oppose? 5. How do you feel about the poem? 6. What is the intention of the author in writing the poem? 7. How does the message of the poem appeal to you as a person? 8. What does the poem tell about the way of life in the place where it originated? 9. How do rhymes or the regular recurrence of similar sounds shape the meaning of the poem?

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