Mbella Sonne Dipoko: Foremost Writer of Anglophone Cameroonian Literature

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Mbella Sonne Dipoko (1936 -2009) was a novelist, poet and painter from Cameroon. He is widely considered to be one of the foremost writers of Anglophone Cameroonian literature. Dipoko began writing very early on in his life. In 1960, he left for France at age 24, after a brief stint as an accounts clerk with the Cameroon Development Corporation and a news reporter for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.

Source: http://www.palapalamagazine.com/2009/12/in-memoriam-mbella-sonne-dipoko.html

The Poems

Our History to Precolonial Africa

And the waves arrived.
Swimming in like hump-backed divers
With their finds from far-away seas.
 
Their lustre gave the illusion pearls
As shorewards they shoved up mighty canoes
And looked like the carcass of drifting whales.
 
And our sight misled us
When the sun's glint on the spear's blade
Passed for lightning
And the gun-fire of conquest
The thunderbolt that razed the forest.
 
So did our days change their garb
From hides of leopard skin
To prints of false lions
That fall in tatters
Like the wings of whipped butterflies.

 

Exile

 In silence
The overloaded canoe leaves our shores
But who are these soldiers in camouflage,

These clouds going to rain in foreign lands?
The night is losing its treasures

The future seems a myth

Warped on a loom worked by lazy hands.
But perhaps all is not without some good for us

As from the door of a shack a thousand miles away
The scaly hand of a child takes in greeting

The long and skinny fingers of the rain.


From My Parisian Diary

Thirty centimes is all the money I have left
But am full of hope without knowing why.
I laugh at the world and laugh at myself
Something of a child at thirty-five.
It has been a hard life since I ran out of cynicism
And stopped selling for a commission
Just any newspaper in the world
Deciding exclusively on pamphlets of the Left
By which I am now earning death by installment
On a starvation diet
And the rent is long overdue.
Surely this is not a way of earning a living
Peddling slogans of a better world
In the garrison of troops armed to defend these cruel days.
But the struggle must continue
And we must open new fronts even in our dreams.

 

Copenhagen - Mbella Sonne Dipoko's Last Poem

It was foretold long ago
That after Noah's deluge
The next destruction of the world
Would be by fire
And can't you feel the heat building up already,
The global warming up?
 
And so to fulfill the prophecy
Copenhagen is going to be
Just some more hot air
Presaging the sparks that would turn
Into the flames in which the world will be consumed
And then out of the ashes of ecocide capitalism
It won't be Christ on His second coming presiding

On Judgment Day
But Karl Marx returning like a revolutionary phoenix
Out of the ashes of the busting bubbles
Of the lopsided economies
Of our over-heated world