Analysis of the Poem “Africa” by David Diop Within the Context of Anthills of the Savannah

Topics: Africa, Slavery, Colonialism Pages: 3 (1327 words) Published: April 28, 2013
Analysis of the poem “Africa” by David Diop within the context of Anthills of the Savannah.

Chapter 10 of Anthills of the Savannah, entitled, impetuous son, opens with a stanza from David Diop’s poem Africa, which is where the title of the chapter gets its name from, and from my initial instinct, is the key phrase in the poem, but the key question is what does this poem have to do with the social context of the story other than the fact that its named after the continent in which anthills is set. I also assume that this poem has some sort of relation to Ikem’s Hymn to the sun earlier on in the play. Focusing for a moment on the word ‘story’, I notice that this poem has an element of the notion of storytelling within it, right from the first line. The words Africa tell me Africa, to me resemble a sort of almost tribal call or chant to come and tell the stories of the land. It is calling out to the whole of Africa, showing that effectively they are all in the same situation, which is what Anthills is trying to get at by simply giving a fictional example of what is a common situation in at least the central African nations, and aims not to pinpoint all the attention on one nation, but rather the whole of Africa, so the problem can be tended to as a whole, which is what David Diop is going to also show in the next few lines. The next three lines, give us the familiar context we know all too well in Anthills. Talk of “back[s being] bent” and backs being broken under “the weight of humiliation”, suggests that the people of Africa are being enslaved. The red scars, suggest that this is not only a wound that will never heal (a scar) but the red not only emphasizes it, but suggests that it is perpetually being struck again and again, and that in the current situation, will never get better. Going on to confirm the slavery notion though the whip, which is a universal symbol of slave labour, and that they say yes, under conditions like the midday sun, the hottest...
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