History of African Poetry Content and Form


The content of African poetry, is made of themes that emanate from the African background. This background, as you will recall, consists essentially of experiences of colonial and post-colonial eras. The details of these experiences involve firstly a clash of cultures which featured in the initial colonial contact between Africa and the West. Western culture, which was the culture of the colonialists, was superimposed on the African culture of the colonized. A clash of cultural values emerged as the African culture resisted this superimposition.

This cultural clash became a ready theme or element for many African poets. Okot p’Bitek explores it well in the two poems he wrote “The Graceful Griraffe cannot become a Monkey” and ‘My Name Blew like a Horn among the Payira.’ p’Bitek protests against the superimposition of the White culture on African culture.

Exile and alienation are two important elements in African poetry that resulted from colonial contact especially in areas of Africa colonized by the French. For example, Senegal. In these places, the French practiced a policy of assimilation whose aim was to turn the Africans into black Frenchmen. These Africans imbibed so much of the white culture of the French that they virtually lost their identity as Africans. The result was that they were alienated from their African roots and, as it often happened, went to live in France, thus exiling themselves even physically. Senghor in ‘in Memoriam’ and ‘I will pronounce Your Name’ protests vehemently against this experience.

Do not be misled into thinking that African poetry is made up of only themes that concern Africa and Africans. That is, themes that are localized. Some African poets write about themes that could apply to any part of the world. The example we have here of such universal themes is in ‘Soyinka’s ‘Telephone conversation’ which deals with the issue of racism and his ‘post mortem’ which deals with the theme of death. The poet’s response to these issue is that racism is irrational and a hateful evil. Death in Soyinka’s view is unfathomable and therefore not worthy of man’s consistent but futile probe.

African poetry covers very many themes, both local and universal, depending on the experiences Africa and Africans have gone through.


In terms of style, African poetry is written mainly in free verse which is common among many modern poets. It is not written according to any fixed rules, forms or conventions. The form which African poetry takes is governed by the subject – matter that are treated. Free verse allows for freedom of expression and style.

Instead of using rhyme, rhythm, metre or other fixed forms to enhance their meaning, African poets employ other poetic devices in skillful ways that enable them to achieve the same effect as those achieved by the use of fixed rules and conventional forms.

On a final point: Remember that we are not saying African poets do not use devices like rhyme, rhythm, meter, sonnects etc. They occasional use these devices but they do not particularly make them convey the meanings of their poems as they make the devices we have just discussed embellish their meaning.

Some Common Misconceptions About Business Travel

Whenever you come across a business traveler walking around the airport, there are many thoughts that cross your mind. Let me begin by warning you, a lot of these might be wrong.

Business travelers face plenty of challenges. Always racing against time, they are constantly going from one airport to another, catching one flight to another. Lack of sleep, longer than expected working hours and sometimes even skipping meals are what a lot of travelers can tell about their trips. Naturally, it is not easy to cope up with such a routine and only the toughest manage to survive.

Traveling faces a lot of misconceptions. Here are some of the top of these.

1. It’s Always about Pleasures

Typically, whenever you hear of business travelers a lot of people think this trip is all about pleasures. Of course, all they can think about at that time is a paid trip, free air travel and all the other expenses.

It’s true that most of the companies pay for the entire trip. However, it’s way more than free meals and a stay at luxurious hotels. A business travel person often have to sacrifice a lot of their leisure time in order to meet deadlines and fulfill tasks.

2. They Travel in Style

It’s true that business travelers mostly have a charismatic personality and no matter how many insomniac days they’ve lived, they’d always travel in style. But the definition of style for many is entirely a different one. When you think of business travelers, you are automatically inclined to think that they must be traveling through the luxurious classes of the airline and staying at the most royal hotels.

The truth is, not many companies are able to afford this. Many business travelers commonly fly through the economy class and stay at the budgeted hotels.

3. Formal Clothing

It’s always desired to arrive at a meeting looking your best. However, the luggage restrictions can often make it hard to carry your best suit to a foreign land for the business meetings. It’s a huge relief that the businessmen all around the globe understand this restriction.

So the next time you’re eager to spot a traveler, they don’t always have to be in a suit to qualify as one. A fine looking pair of trousers and dress shirt would do an equally good job. A suit is no longer a qualification criterion of being a businessman.

4. A Lot of Work is Done

Of course, the trip is planned to get certain projects fulfilled. However, this is not always the case. Business traveling may not be always as successful as what the company has planned.

At times, business trips mean no work actually gets done. However, that trip might open more pathways to future successes. The trip might keep you very busy, but the company might not get the desired results.

Did The 55mph Speed Limit Save Gas?

Did the 55mph speed limit save gas? The 55mph speed limit, not too affectionately referred to as the “double nickel” was instituted in the 1970’s in response to oil supply problems cased by OPEC’s embargo. Formally called the National Maximum Speed Law, the law was viewed by disdain by drivers used to traveling over 70mph on our nation’s interstates.

People voted with their right feet, the one pressed firmly on the gas pedal, and in time the 55mph speed limit faded into history. Joy was felt throughout the land when the 55mph limit was raised to 65. In 1995 the last vestiges of the old speed law were removed, and the power to set their own speed limits was restored to the individual states.

Did the 55mph speed limit fulfill it’s intended purpose and save valuable gas? Well, first let’s take a look at some of the other effects of the 55mph limit. Despite the hue and cry that arose when the limit was repealed, and dire predictions of over 6,000 new highway deaths, the year after the repeal of the limit saw a record low level of traffic fatalities. This seemed to indicate that traffic safety, the main rationale for retaining the speed limit at snail-like levels after the oil crisis passed, was not greatly improved by the slower speed limit.

On the other hand, 55mph limit cost, by some estimates 200 million man hours per year. The National Academy of Sciences estimated the low speed limit cost the country far more, closer to 1 billion hours annually, in lost time.

Finally, did the 55mph speed limit actually save gas, as we were told it would when it was enacted? Actually, yes it did, but nowhere near the 400,000 barrels of oil per day that some experts predicted it could save. The Department of Transportation’s Dr. John Eberhardt did a study on 1978 that indicated the gas savings were no more than 1% of our total gasoline usage. So while it did save some gas, it was nowhere near what it cost in lost productivity and driver’s time. One may note that this time may never be recovered.

So the 55mph speed limit cost 1 billion hours per year, saved few, if any lives and didn’t come anywhere close to delivering the amount of gas savings we were assured it would when the law was enacted. That sounds like a law that should remain forever in our nation’s history books, never again to be seen on its highways.