Noémia de Sousa ‘I Will Rise Lucid’ – A Translation

Noémia de Sousa

You beat me and threaten me 

Now I lift my enlighted head

And scream: ‘Enough!’(…) Condemning me to eternal darkness

Now my African soul is illuminated

And discovered the fraud and screamed, screamed a thousand


You put me in this cage and now you want to crucify me

Now I’ve drawn the rosy tint from my eyes 

And screamed: ‘Enough!’ 

Condemning, me to eternal darkness now my African 

Soul is illuminated and discovered the fraud 

And screamed, screamed a thousand times: _Enough!_

The cross-eyed executioner

With sharpened cannibal teeth,

And brutal orangutan hands: 

Come with your truncheon and threats, 

Lock me in your cage and crucify me, 

Bring your instruments of torture 

And amputate my limbs, one by one…

Wring out my eyes and condemn me to eternal darkness… 

As I, more than ever, 

From the remnants of my soul

I will rise lucid, bellowing against everything: Enough!

Enough! Enough!


Born in Catembe, Mozambique in 1926 Noémia de Sousa was a writer, poet and journalist, as well as the Mother of the Mozambican literary canon and the

‘founding mother of Moçambicanidade, the putative cultural nationalism of the 1950’s.’ (1)

She published her only collection of poetry Sangue Negro in 1990, although her writing was widely distributed through newspapers and literary journals during her lifetime. Her vibrant, stimulating poetry draws you into an intensely unsettling world of mistrust, injustice and oppression; her dynamic poetic voices rattling in protest against the banality of colonialism in Africa. Yet her poetry rings with examples of human strength, dignity and pride.

Noémia de Sousa died in 2002 in Cascais, Portugal and remains one of the most notable poets from Mozambique and one of the most popular and loved Lusophone African poets embodying a generation of courage and resistance.


1. Hilary Owen, Mother Africa, Father Marx: Women’s Writing of Mozambique, 1948-2002, Bucknell University Press (2007) pp. 43 – 56

2. Literatas, ‘Relançando ‘Sangue Negro’ de Noémia de Sousa’

3. Afreaka, ‘O Sangre Negro de Noémia de Sousa’

Sangre Negro pub. 1990
Sangue Negro pub. 1990

Liked it?

Read another translation of Noémia de Sousa on a more recent collaborative project, da terra.

Read more of my original work here. And do read the beautiful original poem by Noémia de Sousa.

7 thoughts on “Noémia de Sousa ‘I Will Rise Lucid’ – A Translation”

  1. The poem reminds me of reading Maryse Condé even though I have yet to read of the novel where she begins to discover Africa having become more aware of the life she lived under the protection of her family in Guadeloupe/Paris until then.

    Thank you for sharing this, it’s very powerful and moving.


    1. Thank you for reading this post and for your lovely comments! I haven’t read Maryse Condé but will look forward to immersing myself in another African writer.

      Please do check back soon as I will be publishing more of my translations of Noémia de Sousa’s work, as well as translations from other African writers including Craveirinha and Vilanova.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Claire, it’s so lovely to be able to share this poetry with other word lovers and find a space to explore these interesting voices.

        I am also following your blog and am really appreciative of the diversity of writers you cover and explore!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your lovely comments 🙂

      I’m glad to hear you are enjoying my translations. If there is a particular Lusophone poet or writer you’d like to see translated, please do let me know!


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