This site opens a window on something that will be new to most people, namely, the vast amount of superb poetry hidden away in the 3000 different languages spoken in Africa.
Of course, it’s not hidden from the speakers of those languages, and most Africans — even those without access to formal education — are expert linguists, speaking two or three or more languages fluently. Even so, they can experience only a fraction of their continent’s poetic diversity.
Meanwhile, the rest of us, living as we do in the Americas, Asia, Australasia or Europe, have yet to discover how Africa’s oral poets, in a variety of different forms, have brought to bear on the shifting panorama of African, and human experience, a stream of comment — thoughtful, angry, humorous, celebratory — whose range and sophistication are evident, even in the most literal of translations.
As we add new content to the site our aim is to include audio recordings of songs being performed, along with vernacular texts, as well as essays providing background for some of the material.
African Poems contains poems and songs which comment upon the whole range of human experience: poems of praise and celebration, poems to amuse and entertain; poems of love and of loss; work songs and protest songs. Here are poems which above all will be enjoyed.
AfricanPoems is now working with radio stations across Africa to source audio recordings of oral poetry within their archives. We shall be publishing the first of these in the near future.
We are inviting any radio stations, institutes or individuals with audio recordings of oral poetry in their archives to join us in making these recordings accessible to the public.
We are also working with copyright development associations to support poets, musicians, radio stations and other copyright holders in the marketing of their intellectual property to generate revenue.
If you are an oral poet, corporation, institute or individual with audio recordings that you think suitable for AfricanPoems, we would love to hear from you!
Get in touch with us at — [email protected]