His mother raised him with his two older brothers, Massyla and Youssoupha; his father, for unknown reasons, disappeared two months before Diop was born. During this time, he became fascinated with the poems and style of writing of Victor Hugo , Charles Baudelaire , Edgar Allan Poe and several others and began writing his own. He also served as the first Senegalese ambassador to Tunisia from to These served as the main inspiration for much of his literary work. Indeed, most of his poems and tales have their roots in oral African traditions.
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He and his two older brothers, Massyla and Youssoupha were raised by their mother. His father, disappeared two months before Diop was born. During this time, he became fascinated with the poems and style of writing of Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe and several others which influenced him into writing his own.
In the late s, he served as a nurse in a military hospital and later went on to study veterinary medicine at the University of Toulouse in France, and graduated in Diop was a professional veterinary surgeon, although he was mostly recognized for his poems and folktales. It was during his civil service career in that he collected and reworked most of Wolof folktales, and also wrote poetry, memoirs, and a play. He also served as the first Senegalese ambassador to Tunisia from to Just as history will bear witness, intellectuals attract each other.
Evidently, most of his poems and tales have their roots in oral African traditions. Folktales are traditional stories that are recited to a group at night, most times during moonlight night, by a professional storyteller, called a griot.
Naturally, folktales were repeated in different places by the people who heard them. During the moonlight, in addition to folktales comes varieties of songs and dances in addition.
Apart from entertainment, moonlight tales also have the greater purpose of teaching younger generations about the belief and value system of their ancestors. By combining his mastery of the French language with his experience with African folktales, Diop was able to spread the values and beliefs of his ancestors and Africa in general throughout the world. Homesick, his fellow Negritude writers advised him to start writing down adaptions of folktales. These tales provided a combination of humor, fantasy and realism where people, supernatural beings, and animals interacted.
When Senegal gained her independence, Birago was nominated as the first Senegalese ambassador in Tunisia. Having accepted his new appointment, Diop stopped writing so as to pay full attention his diplomatic duties. In , Birago Diop died on 29th day of November 29, in Dakar at the age of He has made in mark on the sand of time. Even now, decades after his death, his stories and poems remain, sharing African values and culture.
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BIRAGO ISMAEL DIOP BIOGRAPHY
Pancocojams showcases the music, dances, language practices, and customs of African Americans and of other people of Black descent throughout the world. Information about Birago Diop is also included in this post. In addition, accapella performances of the song "Breaths" by Sweet Honey And The Rock and by two other accapella groups are also featured in this post. The content of this post is presented for religious and aesthetic reasons. All copyrights remain with their owners. Thanks to Birago Diop for composing this poem and thanks to Ysaye Maria Barnwell for composing the music for this song.