Author is mostly known for
Bernard Binlin Dadié is an Ivorian novelist, playwriter, poet, politician, journalist, activist, political prisoner, ex-minister of Culture and ex-administrator. In his writing, influenced by his experiences of colonialism as a child, Dadié attempts to connect the messages of traditional African folktales with the contemporary world. His humanism and desire for the equality and independence of Africans and their culture is also prevalent.
He is famous for his work “I Thank You, God” (translated here by Ibe Nwoga – found in Wikipedia):
- I thank you God for creating me black,
- For having made me
- the total of all sorrows,
- and set upon my head
- The World.
- I wear the lively of the Centaur
- And I carry the world since the first morning.
- White is a colour improvised for an occasion
- Black, the colour of all days
- And I carry the World since the first evening.
- I am happy
- with the shape of my head
- fashioned to carry the World,
- With the shape of my nose,
- which should breathe all the air of the World,
- With the form of my legs
- prepared to run through all the stages of the World.
- I thank you God for creating me black
- For making of me
- Porter of all sorrows..
- Still I am
- Glad to carry the World,
- Glad of my short arms
- Of my long arms
- Of the thickness of my lips..
- I thank you God for creating me black
- White is a colour for special occasions
- Black the colour for every day
- And i have carried the World since the dawn of time
- And my laugh over the World, through the night, creates the Day.
- I thank you, God for creating me black”
Bernard writes mainly in french but some of his work has been translated into english.
- Afrique debout (1950)
- Légendes africaines (1954)
- Le pagne noir (1955)
- La ronde des jours (1956)
- Climbié (1956) – Translated
- Un Nègre à Paris (1959) -Translated
- Patron de New York (1964)
- Hommes de tous les continents (1967)
- La ville où nul ne meurt (1969) – Translated
- Monsieur Thôgô-Gnini (1970)
- Les voix dans le vent (1970)
- Béatrice du Congo (1970)
- Îles de tempête (1973)
- Papassidi maître-escroc (1975)
- Mhoi cheul (1979)
- Opinions d’un nègre (1979)
- Les belles histoires de Kacou Ananzè
- Commandant Taureault et ses nègres (1980)
- Les jambes du fils de Dieu (1980)
- Carnets de prison (1981)
- Les contes de Koutou-as-Samala (1982)
- Le Grand prix littéraire d’Afrique noire by “the association des écrivains de langue française (ADELF)” – The association of french speaking writers
- The Ivorian government has recommended the author for the Nobel prize of literature, citing among other reasons, the immense contribution of the Ivorian author, which rivals with the likes of Wole Soyinka.
Unknown. This author will turn 100 years in 2016. He was born in 1916.
Observateur passionné des êtres et des choses, homme de sagesse et humoriste, dans quel autre genre que le conte, bernard dadié pouvait-il accomplir ces traits remarquables de sa personnalité ? avec évidence, ces textes manifestent la rencontre heureuse d’un écrivain avec son monde, cette afrique du pays baoulé recréée à travers le merveilleux de la fable, l’ironique bestiaire de la tradition, la gaîté d’un savoir ancien et la tendresse d’une longue mémoire.
First published in France as Le Pagne Noir: Contes Africains in 1955. The writing of such chronicles of an African childhood was the author’s way of coming to terms with the questions every sensitive colonized person educated in the Western tradition would sooner or later have to ask: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? While giving poetic and fictional expression to the tensions of independence and the events that led to it, the writer realized that he would at the same time have to rediscover his oral tradition. It was a natural development of what the new African poetry and drama in French, English, and, later, Portuguese, were already doing–probing the inner mysteries of indigenous mythology and symbolism. Only in this way could the enlightened African restore a sense of equilibrium in his people’s culture. From the foreword by Es’kia Mphahlele, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
- African Folktales
- African Societies
- Riddles and Songs
I found strange
I found brilliant
Everything. If you grew in Africa, these short stories will be very familiar to you. In my case, I grew up in Senegal not far from Ivory Coast, I related and even recognized every single tales in this short book. However in Senegal, our stories differed in two ways. First, animals didn’t have names. What do I mean? Well, a spider is a spider and will not be called Kacou Ananze the spider. And second, the protagonist in our stories was not the spider but the hyena. I don’t know why. Stories like this would be told at night after the evening meal at my grandparents place. A good book that will definitely take you down memory lanes.
What to expect
Sixteen stories, with Kacou Ananze a very treacherous and cunning spider as the main character. A great mix of Entertainment and ethics. Songs , epics, riddles, proverbs, lessons learned, strange things explained…I recommend!
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