Patrice Lumumba's Dawn In The Heart Of Africa

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A discussion of unity in African Nationalism is not possible without considering what is was ultimately trying to achieve: freedom. Texts that advocate this ‘spirit of freedom’ often point to the harsh reality of colonialism to reveal the need for action in attaining freedom such as exemplified in the independence leader and poet Patrice Lumumba’s poem Dawn in the Heart of Africa, written in 1961:

Oppression and hopelessness are constantly communicated both literally and figuratively. Early on Lumumba indicates with word choice the ‘suffering’ of Africans but the simile ‘like a beast’ further illustrates subhuman nature of this forced servitude. The hopelessness is evident when there is no place of rest for the African soul as even in death,
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Noticeably, most of the poem has been set against the setting of night-time (lines 7 and 9) thus the night becomes symbolic of the time of oppression. Consequently, when in the last stanza the declaration ‘The dawn is here, my brother! Dawn! Look in our faces//A new morning breaks in our old Africa’ the dawn is the made the setting of liberation as the poem has transitioned out of night and exclamation marks in the last stanza reveal an optimism that was not present before. The symbolism of morning also carries sentiment of new beginnings, which the poem elaborates will be the ownership of the ‘land, the water and the mighty rivers’. The visual symbol of ‘break the chains’ send the message of the breaking the oppression that had characterised the first half of the poem thus linking back effectively to the metaphor liberating dawn after ‘surrounding for a thousand years’. The poem ends with the glorying of a ‘free and gallant Congo’ from ‘black soil…a black blossom from black seed’ imagery depicting how a free country has been grown by black Africans that lay claim to it because it was created by their history, their input and their
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