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Celebrate World Poetry Day with these amazing African poems


It’s #WorldPoetryDay! Celebrate with us by enjoying these examples of incredible literature and personal expression by poets from across the African continent.

1. “Homeward” — Bassey Ikpi


Bassey Ikpi, a Nigerian-born but America-raised poet, captures audiences with her spoken word ode to her grandmother in Homeward. Visiting her unfamiliar family, she laments, “It breaks my heart to realize that I can only love her clearly in English.” Ipki lets us into her uncertainty and struggles to find somewhere she can call home.


2. “Do not fear the past” — Zuhura Seng’enge

“Do not fear the past.

It is painful

but it is real

Blood was spilt and people died

but love and unity had survived.”

Do not fear the past

This poem is not only a reflection on history, but also a call to action for young Africans to reclaim it. Tanzanian poet Zuhura Seng’enge acknowledges the complicated past experiences of African countries, but maintains hope for the future.


3. “Bottoms Up!” — Ama Nuamah

“To the children we call our future

Who have no shoes to put on their feet

Who have barely any food to eat

Who believe in some unreal hope

But still dare to dream

Wild and free.”

– Bottoms Up!

A toast to optimists in bleak situations, Ama Nuamah’s poem embodies how bright minds can be trapped by lack of access to basic necessities. She’s based in Ghana, but as we’ve mentioned before, obstacles to essential needs (such as electricity) affect many nations across Africa. Celebrating the strength of citizens working against such tough odds is so important!


4. “I am an African” — Puno Selesho

South Africa’s complex social and political legacies have led to a diverse range of identities, an idea Puno Selesho works to address. She challenges the idea that there is only one way of being South African, and urges everyone to take pride in who they are.


5. “One” — Sage Hasson

“Billions of people all struggling to [fulfill] seeming different agenda

But we all are in pursuit of one collective destiny

We all need just one

One dream

One day

One hour

One minute

One second

One moment.”

– One

Sage Hasson, of Nigeria, emphasizes unity and focus in this poem. Maybe we here at ONE are biased towards this gem in particular, but no one can deny the powerful message of individuals coming together to make a difference for themselves and for others.

Feeling inspired? Become a ONE member and join the more than 7 million people worldwide in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.