A Far Cry from Africa by the Saint Lucian Poet

A Far Cry from Africa by the Saint Lucian Poet
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A Far Cry from Africa is a poem by the Saint Lucian poet and writer Derek Walcott. The poem was first published in 1962 and is included in Walcott’s collection In a Green Night: Poems 1948–1960. The poem reflects on the violence of colonialism and its aftermath, specifically concerning British colonial rule in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising.

Derek Walcott’s A Far Cry from Africa: A Poem of Violence and Colonialism

Derek Walcott’s A Far Cry from Africa is a searing indictment of violence and colonialism. The poem centers on the Mau Mau uprising in British Kenya in the 1950s, in which Kenyan nationalists fought against British colonial rule. The poem opens with a description of the brutality of the Mau Mau rebels, who “chopped off hands, noses, / Ears, and tongues” ( Walcott 1-2). However, the poem quickly shifts focus to the British colonialists, who are depicted as even more savage than the rebels. The colonialists “burned villages, / Flayed human skin, / And hung men upside down / To bleed them dry” (Walcott 3-6). The poem culminates in a powerful condemnation of both the Mau Mau rebels and the British colonialists, who are both responsible for the violence and bloodshed in Kenya.

Derek Walcott is one of the most important Caribbean poets of the twentieth century. A native of Saint Lucia, he has written extensively about the experience of being a Caribbean artist in colonial society. His poetry is often praised for its lyrical beauty and its powerful political statements. A Far Cry from Africa is one of his most important poems, and it offers a powerful indictment of colonialism and the violence it inflicts on innocent people.

The Mau Mau Uprising through the Eyes of Saint Lucian Poet Derek Walcott

The poem begins with a description of the Kenyan landscape, which is “red with terrible tooth and claw”. This sets the stage for the violence that is to come. Walcott then asks us to consider the Mau Mau fighters as human beings, rather than animals. He points out that they are fighting for their land and their freedom, just as we would if our homeland was under threat.

The poem goes on to describe the Mau Mau fighters as “savages”, and the British soldiers as “civilized”. This contrast highlights the hypocrisy of the British colonial government, which claimed to be bringing civilization to Kenya while at the same time brutally suppressing the Mau Mau uprising.

The poem ends with a call for understanding and reconciliation between the British and the Kenyans. Walcott asks us to remember that we are all human beings, regardless of the side we are on. He urges us to learn from the mistakes of the past so that we can build a better future for all.

In a Green Night: Derek Walcott’s Poetic Reflections on Colonialism and Violence

A Far Cry from Africa is a collection of poems by the Saint Lucian poet Derek Walcott. The title poem reflects on the experience of colonial violence and its aftermath, while other poems in the collection explore related themes such as the legacy of slavery, race relations, and the relationship between art and politics. Overall, the poems offer a complex and nuanced view of the impact of colonialism on both individual lives and the broader Caribbean region.

Walcott was born in 1930 in Saint Lucia, a small island nation in the Caribbean Sea. He was educated in both England and the United States, and his poetry often draws on his experiences as a migrant. In “A Far Cry from Africa,” he reflects on the violence of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, which he witnessed firsthand while working as a journalist in the 1950s. The poem is written in the form of a dialogue between two voices: one that represents Walcott’s views, and one that speaks for the victims of colonial violence.

The poem begins with a description of the Kenyan landscape, which the speaker compares to a “green night.” The Mau Mau uprising is described as a “cry” that echoes across the African continent. The speaker reflects on the violence of the colonial system and its impact on both Africans and Europeans. He asks whether it is possible to understand the experience of Africans who have been subjected to centuries of violence and oppression.

The poem concludes with a call for reconciliation between Africans and Europeans. Walcott argues that violence is not the answer to the problems of colonialism. Instead, he calls for a new understanding between people of different cultures and races. “A Far Cry from Africa” is a powerful and moving poem that offers a complex view of the legacy of colonialism.


A Far Cry from Africa is a powerful poem that highlights the experiences of Africans who were forced to leave their homes and families behind to find a better life. The poem also brings to light the harsh realities that these Africans faced, such as being treated like animals and being subjected to brutal working conditions. However, despite all of the hardships that they faced, the Africans in the poem still held on to their hope and dignity. This is an important message that should be shared with everyone.