As soon as Beyoncé launched Lemonade, the whole world got to know the wonderful work of the Somali-British poet Warsan Shire.
To give visibility to Shire and other African women who have produced a lot of good, the OkayAfrica website has made a sensational list of 7 African poets that everyone should know. They are authors who talk about love, identity, about being a woman. Unfortunately a good part of the work of these women is not yet translated, but we leave the indications for you;)
1. Nayyirah Waheed
Little is known about Nayyirah - she tends to be a bit of a recluse. She lives in the USA and writes about identity, immigration and self-love in powerful sonnets. She has already released two books: Salt (2013) and Nejma (2014).
Follow her on twitter: @nayyirahwaheed.
2. Ladan Osman
Ladan Osman is a Somali poet and teacher. His work cuts across identity issues, specifically his Somali heritage and his identity as a Muslim.
In an interview with Paris Review, she explained that it is important for her to talk about how people always try to replace their own narratives. In 2011, Ladan won the Sillerman First Book Prize for his work The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony.
3. Umebinyuo Ijeoma
Ijeoma started its work through Tumblr. She is a poet born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and published her first collection of poems, called Questions for Ada, in August 2015. Based on her personal trajectory, Ijeoma talks about being a woman, being a foreigner and being loved.
Follow her twitter here: @ijeomaumebinyuo.
“So, here you are / too foreign for home / too foreign for here./ Never enough for both.” (So, here you are / very foreign at home / very foreign here./ Never enough for both) - Ijeoma Umebinyuo, Questions for Ada
4. Safia Elhillo
The Sudanese author grew up in Washington, D.C., in the U.S. She is one of the publishers of Kinfolks Quarterly, a black-speaking publication that won the Brunel University African Poetry award in 2015.
Safia talks a lot about identity and belonging. She has already published a small collection of poems called The Life and Times of Susie Knuckles and will publish a second collection in 2017, called The January Children.
Follow her Twitter, look: @mafiasafia.
5. Yrsa Daley-Ward
Daughter of a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Yrsa published her first bone book in 2014. The actress and author talks a lot about sexuality, being a woman, depression, self-confidence and independence.
Follow Yrsa Daley-Ward on Twitter: @YrsaDaleyWard.
The pastor makes twenty-four / references to hell / in the sermon at church and forgets / to talk / about love. —Yrsa Daley-Ward, bone
6. Upile Chisala
Upile Chisala is a poet Malawi (people, did you know that those born in Malawi are Malawians? I am not). In addition to being a great poet, Upile was just accepted at Oxford University (u-a-u). She also created the Yanja Series, a monthly meeting for non-white women in Baltimore to express themselves and be creative together.
In 2015, Upile published its first collection of poems, soft magic. In this work, she explores gender, identity, diaspora and self-care. Follow her Instagram and Twitter.
can’t I just be a black woman that loves herself in peace? / without having to explain why my skin / (be it light honey or molasses) / is a dream? / why my hair / (coarse or sleek) / is a crown? / can't I just be a black woman who loves being a black woman / without having to be sorry / or humble / or polite about it? / Damn it! / who else has to justify loving themselves like this? / who else has to fight for the right to call themselves a blessing? / Goodness , / can't I just be a black woman that loves herself in peace ?? !!? - Upile Chisala
7. Warsan Shire
Warshan was born in Kenya and her parents are Somalis. Her family moved to the UK when she was 1 year old. In addition to Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, Warsan also launched Her Blue Body in 2015. She is currently working on a collection of poems, which will be launched in 2016, called Extreme Girlhood.
Warsan Twitter: @warsan_shire.