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Prolific Ivorian Author Bernard Dadié Has Passed Away at 103

An iconic figure in Côte d'Ivoire, Bernard Dadié's prose was considered to inspire the Negritude literary movement.

Bernard Dadié, Côte d'Ivoire's own iconic author and former Minister of Culture, has passed away at the age of 103, Brittle Paper reports.

He passed earlier this month on March 9.


The author and culture shifter penned poems, plays and novels that made an effort to link the current world that was impacted by colonialism with the lessons learned in traditional African folktales. His work was also a point of inspiration for the Negritude movement—a Parisian literary era spanning from the 1930s and 1940s where black writers came together to assert their respective cultural identities through the French language. Dadié's poem Je Vous Remercie Mon Dieu (I Give You Thanks My God) is considered to be the movement's most exemplary anthems, Brittle Paper adds.


Born in 1916, Dadié was educated at top institutions both in his home country and in Senegal. After joining Côte d'Ivoire's independence movement in 1947, he co-founded the Cercle Culturel et Folklorique de la Côte d'Ivoire (CCFCI) with Germain Coffi Gadeau and F. J. Amon d'Aby in 1953. Dadié was then jailed for 16 months by the French colonial powers before independence was reached in 1960. He served as the country's minister of culture from 1977 to 1986.

When Dadié reached his centennial in 2016, he was awarded the $50,000 Jamie Torres Bodet Award, sponsored by UNESCO, for his "contribution to the development of knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in social sciences and humanities." That same year, he also won the Grand Prix literary prize.

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Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

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And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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