Angolan Mission: Published by the Embassy of Angola

Agostinho Neto Remembered

September 17 marked the 75th anniversary of the birthday of Antonio Agostinho Neto, the first president of independent Angola. President Neto was born in 1922 in Bengo province. In addition to his distinguished public service career as president of Angola, President Neto was also a physician, philosopher, and accomplished poet. In honor of this special anniversary, Fire and Rhythm, one of President Neto's poems, is printed below.
Fire and Rhythm
The sound of chains on the roads
the songs of birds
under the humid greenery of the forest
freshness in the smooth symphony
of the palm trees
fire
fire on the grass
fire on the heat of the Cayatte plains
Wide paths
full of people full of people
an exodus from everywhere
wide paths to closed horizons
but paths
paths open atop
the impossibility of arms

Fires
    dance
    tum tum
        rhythm

Rhythm in light
rhythm in color
rhythm in movement
rhythm in the bloody cracks of bare feet
rhythm on torn nails
Yet rhythm
rhythm

Oh painful African voices


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