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!
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’
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.