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33 pages 1 hour read

Derek Walcott

A Far Cry From Africa

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1962

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Background

Ideological Context

Over the course of the 1800s, many European countries adopted an ideology called Imperialism, which is a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through diplomacy or military force. The practice of Imperialism entailed the colonization of almost all Indigenous territories across the globe, and a mass cultural upheaval as the Europeans forced Native peoples to adopt European culture, traditions, religion, and language. Much of the time, this practice begat unimaginable violence and trauma, as it effectively stripped people of their own identity, culture, history, spirituality, and language. The speaker of “A Far Cry from Africa” addresses these exact issues 150 years later as a testament to the lingering wounds this conquest left around the world. Imperialist policies effectively destabilized many of the territories that were conquered by arbitrarily drawing lines on a map from thousands of miles away, often by people who had never even travelled to those lands, to create new nations and borders. This practice often divided up communities, families, and ethnic groups that had thousands of years of shared culture and history, while simultaneously forcing enemies and conflicting cultures to suddenly share a nation-state.

The Mau Mau conflict in Kenya during the mid 1900s is a direct result of British meddling during the age of Imperialism.

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