[Sappy intro]: My first day of school in America, I went to school with a green notebook,not necessarily to record what I would learn that day from teachers, but to record whatI saw, smelled and encountered. I started every entry as a letter to my best friend back home. Though my observations were addressed to her, they were mostly for me, to make sense of what was happening around me. Some people carried blankies or teddies, I carried notebooks.
Bernard Dadie observed a lot of things and recorded them, so that today we can know a lot about those things from an African and/or francophone perspective. Born in 1916 in CoteD’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Bernard Binlin Dadie was active in the independence movementin his country, as well as the adaptation of the French language to the African context.He was a novelist, a playlist and poet.
Many of his writings talk about traditional Africa, the impact of colonialism on the continent and its effect on lives, both physically and psychologically. For people notfamiliar with African francophone literature, Chinua Achebe would be a similar author to list, when counting authors who established the foundation of post-colonial African literature.
Having stayed in Paris and New York, some of his writings also provide a view of theWestern world through the eyes of an African, a Francophone person.
Why he’s worth talking about: It’s often said that cultures whose histories aren’t written down might as well not haveexisted. Or that, history is always written from the perspective of the winner. Because of Bernard Dadie and other authors like him, we know about the effects of colonialism of African communities and societies, effects that are still visible today.
What his life teaches us: Just because the media only shows a certain type of truth or certain types of rolemodels you may not be able to relate to, doesn’t mean that your story, your point ofview hold no importance. Stop looking to the media for role models. Who are thosepeople who talk or write about people who look like you and the beauty of your background?
To learn more about Bernard Dadie, here are some helpful links: