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Postcolonial Features of David Diope's Poem

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Postcolonial Features of David Diope's Poem

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  • November 17, 2008
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The poem "Africa" reflects the poet's vision of an independent and sovereign Africa. Diop was strongly critical of Europe and denounced colonialism to the hilt especially during the Second World War when Africans fought and died for the sake of the Europeans. Diop voices his angst about the exploitation of Africa by the colonisers through this poem specially in the moving description of Africa during colonization. The glorious, pre-colonial Africa is no longer the present Africa. The lingering memories of loss, slavery, humiliation makes the present freedom taste bitter. Postcolonial Africa is an Africa of a different kind. Colonialism may end but the bitter memories linger forever. This is a poem in which Diop by the power of his imagination calls forth three stages in the continent of Africa's history: pre-colonial days of proud warrior tribes, the colonial experience of subjugation and humiliation, and the postcolonial freedom and sovereignty. The first seven lines present an essentially idealized image of Africa with which the speaker identifies .Then follows a realistic picture of Africa's experience of bitterness, despair and mockery under colonial rule. The last eight lines present a future of hope built on some of the realistic elements of colonial experience: Africa as a young tree patiently springing up and gradually acquiring "the bitter taste of liberty". In David Diope's poem, "Africa", the poet hopes to create a renewed Africa out of the bitter experiences of colonialism. The poem is postcolonial as it gives the understanding that the effects of colonialism will continue to haunt even after the disappearance of colonialism. The poet's preoccupation with the past glories is also suggestive of its postcolonial nature.