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”Limbo” by Edward Kamau Brathwite Essay Sample

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”Limbo” by Edward Kamau Brathwite Essay Sample

In his poem ‘Limbo’ Edward Kamau Brathwite explores and considers cultural identities from the point of view of unknown slaves. Brathwite when describing the slaves suggests the slaves are left in ‘Limbo’ about their own identities ‘Darkness is over me’. This quote struck me the most as it suggests the slaves on the ship are not being given a chance to show their personalities rather someone else is controlling their personalitys/identifications, and they don’t know when it is going to end. Similarly in ‘Nothing’s changed’ Tatamkhulu Afrika tells us how the blacks identity has been taken away from them by the whites.

Personally I feel ‘Afrika’ expresses lose of cultural identity in a emotional way but also readers can draw from their own previous experience.

Nothing’s changed is about a man going back after many years to an area he knew well in south Africa. The government had been racist so white people were in charge and black people had few rights. But the government had changed and the poet hoped he would see a different society. Sadly everything he sees seems to be the same as it was. For that reason, he called the poem Nothing changed.

‘Glass’ is a image used in this poem to show the racial segregation being suffered by the blacks. It is this glass ‘Afrika’ wants to break so ‘cultural differences are broken and ‘cultural identities are similar.

The way limbo is written in free verse and the way nothings changed is written stressed suggests that the slaves and the poet Tatamkhulu Afrika accept their cultural identity their in but I later realise that the poets are actually angry at the fact their in ‘limbo’ and consequently ‘Nothings changed’.

From the position I am in I can relate to a similar situation being suffered by both poets. Last year in France I saw how parts of the country were classed unfit for blacks to go in, although ‘Afrika’s’ poem he visits south Africa a long time ago and ‘nothings changed’ these scenes seen in France only happened recently last year to my disgust I would of expected non racial segregation or ‘Something to have changed’ from the past.

” My feet know and my hands know long dark night is the silence is in front of me”.

So although both poets describe cultural identities in different ways, the way they draw back on personal views suggest these hard hitting facts are less than pleasant and something needs to change in order for their cultural identities to be clear.

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