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Tchicaya U Tam'si (Congo Brazzaville)

TCHICAYA U TAM'SI (1931-1988) was born in Mpili (Congo Brazzaville), but moved to France in 1946 where he died, in Oise, in 1988. Like David Diop, U Tam'si's poetry is colloquial and spoken. Though informal, his work is sophisticated, mocking and rife with dark humour. He juxtaposes vivid historic images and symbolic, even surrealist, renderings of reality, producing a powerful commentary on not only African life, but the human condition. His forays into the meaning of 'black-ness' contribute to Senghor's 'negritude', providing valuable insights into race and significance. A journalist, activist, and strong supporter of Patrice Lumumba, U Tam'si was a vital member of the Congolese independence movement.