Aimé Césaire: a leader of the (cultural) struggle
By Philip Crispin
‘I am on the side of those who are oppressed.’ – Aimé Césaire
Aimé Césaire, the great poet, politician and playwright, was born in Martinique on 26 June, 1913. He died in 2008.
He shall be forever associated with the philosophy of negritude that he espoused with a huge impact on the francophone black world from the 1930s onwards. On the wave of Jamaican national hero Marcus Garvey’s ‘Back to Africa’ movement, negritude was a banner for ‘black consciousness’ avant la lettre, a rejection of and a riposte to disabling white mythologies. It straddled both a political project and a poetic renewal, confronting the violence of colonialism with cataclysmic passion.