Agostinho Neto was not only Angola's first president but he remains its most prominent poet, with his work published in several languages Neto's poetry deals with the quest for freedom, and several of his poems were converted into liberation anthems. He is considered one of Africa's foremost independence leaders. Neto's birthday, 17 September, is celebrated in Angola as National Heroes Day.
"...Neto, I sing your passing, I,
Timid requisitioner of your vast
Armory's most congenial supply.
What shall I sing? A dirge answering
The gloom? No, I will sing tearful songs
Of joy; I will celebrate
The Man who rode a trinity
Of awesome fates to the cause
Of our trampled race!
Thou Healer, Soldier, and Poet!"
From the poem Agostinho Neto from Collected Poems by Chinua Achebe, Random House, 2004.
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