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First anthology of French-language poetry

 Examples of animal tricksters include Anansi, a spider in the folklore of the Ashanti people of GhanaIjàpá, a tortoise in Yoruba folklore of Nigeria; and Sungura, a hare found in central and East African folklore.[2] Other works in written form are abundant, namely in north Africa, the Sahel regions of west Africa and on the Swahili coast. From Timbuktu alone, there are an estimated 300,000 or more manuscripts tucked away in various libraries and private collections,[3] mostly written in Arabic but some in the native languages (namely Fula and Songhai).[4] Many were written at the famous University of Timbuktu. The material covers a wide array of topics, including astronomy, poetry, law, history, faith, politics, and philosophy.[5]Swahili literature similarly, draws inspiration from Islamic teachings but developed under indigenous circumstances. One of the most renowned and earliest pieces of Swahili literature being Utendi wa Tambuka or “The Story of Tambuka”.

During this period, African plays written in English began to emerge. Herbert Isaac Ernest Dhlomo of South Africa published the first English-language African play, The Girl Who Killed to Save: Nongqawuse the Liberator in 1935. In 1962Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o of Kenya wrote the first East African drama, The Black Hermit, a cautionary tale about “tribalism” (discrimination between African tribes).

Among the first pieces of African literature to receive significant worldwide critical acclaim was Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. Published in 1958, late in the colonial era, Things Fall Apart analyzed the effect of colonialism on traditional African society.[7]

African literature in the late colonial period (between the end of World War I and independence) increasingly showed themes of liberation, independence, and (among Africans in French-controlled territories) négritude. One of the leaders of the négritude movement, the poet and eventual President of SenegalLéopold Sédar Senghor, published in 1948 the first anthology of French-language poetry written by Africans, Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française (Anthology of the New Black and Malagasy Poetry in the French Language), featuring a preface by the French existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre.[8]