Senegal: I will pronounce your name | Léopold Sédar Senghor

I will pronounce your name, Naett, I will declaim you, Naett!
Naett, your name is mild like cinnamon; it is the fragrance, in which the lemon grove sleeps,
Naett, your name is the sugared clarity of blooming coffee trees
And it resembles the savannah that blossoms forth under the masculine ardour of the midday sun.
Name of dew, fresher than the shadows of tamarind,
Fresher even than the short dusk, when the heat of the day is silenced.
Naett that is the dry tornado, the hard clap of lightening
Naett, coin of gold, shinning coal, you my night, my sun!…
I am your hero, and now I have become your sorcerer, in order to pronounce your names.
Princess of Elissa, banished from Futa on the fateful day.

SenghorLéopold Sédar Senghor has been acclaimed as the father of the Negritude movement (formed by black Francophone intellectuals to reject the racist ideologiest of colonialism and promote their shared African heritage) and one of the greatest Francophone African poets. Born in Senegal, he schooled both in Dakar and in Paris.  He was the first West African to teach in a French university. In 1960, he became the President of the Federal Republic of Mali and later in the same year, the President of Senegal.


Republic of Congo: Discovering La Negritude | Frederick Kambemba Yamusangie

Discovering La Negritude
It is like drinking pure water freshly
Taken from a spring
Not Processed, Not Packaged, Not Commercialised

But just Pure and Clean
Water coming from the Mother Earth
Taken (with some effort) by you
And consumed (with not any persuasion) by you

Discovering La Negritude
It is like discovering your unknown heritage
It is like discovering a hidden
Treasure, wealth,

Which have always existed
But not known by you
Wealth, which could transform
Your life completely for the best

Discovering La Negritude
It is like waking up from a deep sleep,
And joining a group of privileged people
Who have fallen in love with names such as:

Aime Cesaire, Leopold Sedar Sengor,
Camara Laye, Sembene Ousmane,
Jean Malonga, Mongo Beti,
Langston Hughes, Zamenga Batukezanga,

Lomami Tshibambe, Ferdinand Oyono Mbia,
Richard Wright, Chiekh Anta Diop,
Patrice Emery Lumumba, Claude Maskay, Franck Fannon,
Felix Tchikaya U’Tamsy, William Egber Du Bois, etc..

And never looked back…


Frederick Kambemba Yamusangie is a novelist, playwright and poet who was born in Zaire, Congo. He studied communication engineering at the University of Kent in England and now lives in London.

The Dark Child

“I was a little boy playing around my father’s hut. How old would I have been at that time? I cannot remember exactly. I must still have been very young: five, maybe six years old. My mother was in the workshop with my father, and I could just hear their familiar voices above the noise of the anvil and the conversation of the customers.”

So begins Laye’s enchanted tale of growing up in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. The cradle of the child’s first and dearest memories is this idealized Africa, where the supernatural powers of his crocodile-taming mother and his father’s craft as a goldsmith, are normal parts of the everyday life in this universe.

The beautiful, almost unreal village, doubled with a sophisticated, poetic language is a metaphor of Africa itself, a land of long-living traditions and spirituality much praised in the Négritude movement of the 1950s and 1960s that aimed at bringing forth the riches of the African cultural heritage.

The boy’s childhood is framed by colorful figures in the village, such as Uncle Lansana, his friend Kouyaté, the beautiful young Marie, and traditional ceremonies heavy with spiritual meaning. However, as in any magical world, the balance provided by traditional stability is threatened when the winds of modernity bring with them Laye’s coming-of-age and the possibility of a new life far away from home.

The Dark Child, published in 1953, is one of the earliest African novels, from a second-wave of African writers in the 50’s, whose works surrounded the clash of cultures colonialism wrought.  (Later published as The African Child), it is the first novel of Guinean author Camara Laye, and is considered a classical African novel due to the fairy tale-like language and its colorful, illo tempore imagery. In spite of this idealized vision of Africa, a darker shadow roams over the atmosphere of this novel, bringing with it the responsibility and the compromises of maturity. And these compromises mean going to distant France in search of education and a better life.

However, the book does not focus so much on the dream-like world itself and instead focuses more on the representation the child has of it. The world as the reader sees it is mostly a creation of the child’s view, the vision that he himself has of this world. Childhood itself is a magical world, regardless of where one lives.

The Dark Child is a modern bildungsroman in which the attraction of distant worlds echoes the author’s need to see as many places and things as possible… if only to have a more complex perspective about his homeland.

The Dark Child by Camara Laye

Farrar, Straus and Giroux | 1953 | ISBN: 978-0809015481

Review by Ioana Danaila

IMG_0478-2Ioana Danaila was born in Romania. She graduated from University Lyon 2 Lumière with a Masters in Postcolonial Literature and a First degree in French for Non-Francophone people. She has published short stories and translated books from French to Romanian. She speaks Romanian, French, English, and Spanish and teaches English to high school students in France.