Poetry: Child of Africa by Wayne Visser

Pauline here.

  Poetry is a way to express a person’s emotions and feelings.  Here is a poem called “Child of Africa.”

Africa -many countries- many cultures
Africa -many countries- many cultures

We may not agree with a person’s point of view, but it is fair and polite to listen and to try to understand.  In this poem “Child of Africa,” the poet has had different experiences than you and me.  We need to understand his history and the land where he lives.  Is he angry, or is he trying to say that he is independent?  Enjoy the poem.   Write your own poetry.

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Ask questions about this poem.   What similarities do you share with him? How might your experiences be different?   He doesn’t want ‘pity’ or ‘charity.’  What does he mean?   Have you felt mistrust?  He states that he was ‘schooled at the knees of the elders.’  What do you think he learned that you might not learn in a classroom?  Remember, Africa is a continent comprised of many countries and cultures?  This is the poet’s own feelings.

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Child of Africa

By Wayne Visser

I am a child of Africa –

Young and wild and free

I play on streets of sunny hope

And feed on dusty dreams

I am a child of Africa –

Young and bold and bright

I think a million sparkling thoughts

And wish on shooting stars



I do not want your pity –

For I am not a helpless pup

I do not want your charity –

For I will thrive at first chance

I do not want your mistrust –

For being young is not a crime

I do no want your prejudice –

For that is your prison not mine


You will know me

Not by the colour of my skin

But by the spectrum of my ideas

For I am Africa’s child

You will know me

Not by the name of my tribe

But by the poetry of my ideals

For I am Africa’s child


I may look young

But I am older than you

For I was born at the beginning of time

I may look weak

But I am stronger than you

For I was weaned on the milk of the sun

I may look simple

But I am smarter than you

For I was schooled at the knee of wise elders


You will know me

Not by the poverty of my means

But by the wealth of my ends

For I am Africa’s child

You will know me

Not by the shadows of my past

But by the brilliance of my future

For I am Africa’s child


I do not want your visions –

For I have dreams of my own

I do not want your fears –

For I have monsters enough

I do not want your leftovers –

For I have freshly baked needs

I do not want your playthings –

For I have imagination aplenty


I am a child of Africa

Young and shy and sweet

I smile to hide my nervous pride

And laugh with crystal joy

I am a child of Africa

Young and hip and cool

I dance my way to destiny

And rise on wings of change

12 thoughts on “Poetry: Child of Africa by Wayne Visser”

    1. Dear Dr. Visser:
      Thank you for graciously acknowledging that I blogged your poem. I hope that I did not break any copyright rules. In hindsight, I should have asked your permission. I was born in Ireland and have inherited 350 years of English rule. Like you, I have been proud of Ireland’s rich culture. I understand that Africans feel this way, too, and wish to know and celebrate their diverse and unique heritage. As a retired teacher, I am continuing to make a difference in the lives of young people. I live in Canada and I am recovering from the USA election. It speaks of a lack of education and tolerance. I guess this is universal. Best wishes, Pauline

      1. Hi Pauline
        How wonderful that you are continuing to make a difference in young people’s lives. Once a teacher, always a teacher :). Keep up the inspiration.
        All the best

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