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African poetry in its oral and written forms has addressed a variety of themes, including worldview,

mysticism, values, religion, nature, negritude, personal relationships, anticolonialism, pan-Africanism,

neocolonialism, urbanism, migration, exile, the African diaspora, and patriarchy, as well as such
universals as valor, birth, death, betrayal, and love.

African poetry encompasses the wide variety of traditions arising from Africa's 55 countries and from
evolving trends within different literary genres. It is a large and complex subject, partly because of Africa's
original linguistic diversity but primarily because of the devastating effect of slavery and colonization,
which resulted in English, Portuguese and French, as well as Creole or pidgin versions of these European
languages, being spoken and written by Africans across the continent.

According to Prof. Joseph A. Ushie of the University of Uyo English department, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State,
Nigeria: "Modern written African poetry has a double heritage — pre-colonial and Western. As in most
post-colonial situations, the tilt of our writing should be more towards the pre-colonial African literary
heritage as manifested in the song, dirge, folktale, elegy, panegyric or riddle.

Since the 1960s, political, economic, and cultural events have begun to shape African poetry. Gone are
the days when the shades of colonialism were an unending preoccupation of African poets. In modern
African poetry, the works that focus on the healing and purging of the country and families have
dominated African poetry.

Poets in Africa have faced issues in ways that not only explain how indigenous cultures are absorbed by
western standards but also how limiting in vision their leaders have been.

Modern African poetry is poetry of commitment, and therefore, it has utilitarian value. It began as an
intellectual response to the denigration of Africa and Africans by the white colonizers.

African poetry begins with African themes, rhythms, rituals, and ideas,growing out of the culture of the
continent and of different regions within the continent.

The features of African Poetry are the Cult Poetry which was sung during rituals for the divinities and as
an aid in the practice of medicine, Performance poetry extended into sacred dance, worship
rituals,ceremonial possessions, religious drama, theater, and storytelling and Occupational poetry has
always been a form of lyric poetry dealing with farming, fishing, and hunting in realms of human relations,
family lineages, distinguished individuals, animals, and plants .

Anglophone West African poetry is the narration of the pains and gains of exile; this marks a shift in the
thematic focus from the poetry of dehumanization at home to the poetry of humiliation abroad, and by
extension, the subtle stigmatization of African leaders for their irresponsible governance.