When Africa Calls Uhuru is a dramatic poem in search of what it means to be human. Henry Beissel takes the reader to the Rift Valley in Kenya where it is believed the evolution of Homo sapiens largely took place. The narrative unfolds in a dialogue between nature, science and history, three voices that evoke the fauna and flora of Africa and conjure up the history of its colonization. Ultimately, the poem celebrates today’s liberation of the ‘dark’ continent, arguing that since all humanity was born there, all people are brothers and sisters, whatever the colour of their skin. “Dance, my beloved / Africa,” the poet rejoices, “you are free / to choose freedom now!”
About the author
Henry Beissel is a poet, playwright, fiction writer, translator and editor with well over 30 books published. Among his 23 collections of poetry are his epic Seasons of Blood and the lyrical Stones to Harvest. As a playwright he came to international fame with Inuk and the Sun, which premiered at the Stratford Festival in 1982 and has been translated into many languages and produced internationally. His most recent books of poetry include Fugitive Horizons, which engages the world of modern science; his celebration of our land and its people in Cantos North, which was republished in a bilingual English/French edition for the 150th anniversary of Canada. Henry is Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Concordia University (Montreal) where he taught English Literature for thirty years and founded a flourishing Creative Writing Program. He now lives with his wife, Arlette Francière, the painter and literary translator, in Ottawa.