“The Ivory Coast had just lost its greatest writer”, announced to the AFP, the ivorian minister of Culture, Maurice Bandaman. Bernard Dadi, author of a prolific work, died Saturday at 103 years old, died of a cardio-vascular incident, says the news site Jeune Afrique .

“How very sad! Bon voyage uncle and thank you for all your writings and for your righteousness that inspires us,” responded the writer franco ivorian Serge Bilé its page on Facebook. Bernard Dadi has approached all the literary genres: poetry, novels, chronicles, folk tales and especially theatre. “Writing is, for me, a desire to spread the darkness, a desire to open each of the windows on the world”, declared the writer, receiving in 2016, the first prize Jaime Torres Bodet of Unesco.

Born in 1916 in Assinie (south-eastern Côte d’ivoire), it is made known as early as 1934, at the age of fifteen years, with a piece of theatre of satire, The Cities . In 1950, he published a collection of poems committed, Africa stand up! that condemns the relations of domination between Whites and Blacks in colonial Africa.

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His autobiography fictionalized, Climbié , published in 1952, is perhaps his best-known book, also very critical vis-à-vis colonialism. In 1980, his novel The legs of the son of God (1980) also won a great success. Bernard Dadi has twice received the grand literary prize of black Africa with Boss of New York (1965) and The city where no one dies (1968).

A literature poetic and committed

“It is a pioneer and a giant of african literature,” was said in 2016, the director-general of Unesco Irina Bokova. His works “are taught in universities and schools in Africa and elsewhere,” said Maurice Bandaman. Bernard Dadi was also a journalist, politician and activist for the independence of the Ivory Coast (French colony until 1960).

This commitment within the democratic Party of Côte d’ivoire – african democratic Rally (PDCI-RDA) earned him a one-year stay in prison, between 1949 and 1950. After independence, he was from 1977 to 1986, the minister of Culture of the first ivorian president Felix Houphouet-Boigny.

“Bernard Binlin Dadi is the writer the most fruitful of literature in the neo-african ( … ), and with Léopold Sédar Senghor, translated,” according to Nicole Vincileoni, academic, and author of a book of analysis of reference on his work.

“His literature is at the same time poetic and committed, to the image of man”, responded to the AFP Serge Bilé, writer and television presenter in Martinique (French west Indies), who had visited him several times in the past two years for the preparation of a forthcoming book, 100 writers for Bernard Dadi .

“Dadi and Aimé Césaire are in my opinion the two sides of the same coin, theatrical and poetic, rebellious, and committed,” wrote Serge Bilé in 2016. “We bow to his memory”, said the minister, Maurice Bandaman, wishing for a “national tribute”.

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