What Is the Poem “Dry Your Tears, Africa” About?

The poem “Dry Your Tears, Africa” by Bernard Dadié is about the sons and daughters of Africa returning home. Published in 1967, the poem focuses on healing the cultural wounds caused by slavery and colonialism.

According to Encyclopedia.com, the poem was originally written in French. However, it was featured as a song in “Amistad,” the film about a shipboard slave rebellion. The song was translated into Mende, a language spoken by 46 percent of Sierra Leone, from which the slaves came.

According to an essay published through Collins County Community College, the poem is written as an attempt at comforting the homeland of Africa. This ideal follows in the “Negritude” philosophy, or in making the people of Africa aware of and appreciative of their native culture.

The poet utilizes apostrophe and personification to get his points across. The speaker talks to the country of Africa as if it is alive and can listen to one of her children who has come home. According to Encyclopedia.com, Africa is “crying” because of slavery and colonization. As such, the poet creates Africa as a persona, as a mother who has seen her children stolen from her.

In the poem, the speaker exhorts the African people to get past their feelings of anger toward their enslavers. Only by getting past these feelings can the African people truly become free.