The poem ‘Africa’ is a lamentation; an expression of pain and bitter reflection on an unfair past but which ends with a clear feeling of hope and determination towards the future.  The emotions in the poem are brought out through the use of personification where the body of the poem involves Africa the continent given the qualities of a desirable woman who is then defiled and robed by ‘brigands ungentled’.  The emotions are also clearly expressed through her use of vivid imagery that creates a mental image of the beautiful Africa being dispossessed of her beautiful daughters and strong sons.

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To grow and be strong so that she does not face the same treatment she went through earlier. She should not forget that she may be up and striding now but at one time, she had ‘screams loud and vain’. That is to say when she was shouting loud and in pain, nobody came to her aid. The warning is also meant to go to her former oppressors telling them that despite having trod on her and pummeled her to the ground, she is now up and striding and will not forget what took place earlier.  She is now much wiser and not the naïve girl that was taken advantage of earlier.

Angelou, Maya, and Sherry Huber. On the pulse of morning. New York: Random House, 1993.

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