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Lamine Diakhate was the descendant of one of the most distinguished families of national renown in Senegal. He was born on September 16, 1928, in Saint-Louis. This city was in those days the center of one of the four administrative districts, i.e. communes, of the country. But it was also the capital of the French colonies of West Africa (Afrique Occidentale Française). Mr. Diakhate served his country as a politician and diplomat. But he was also an important author, poet and literary critic of the négritude school. He died on January 25, 1987, in Paris and was buried on February 2 in the Islamic cemetery of Yoff in Dakar.

Already as a young man, Mr. Diakhate came to the attention of President-poet Léopold Sédar Senghor. He had attended schools in Louga and Saint-Louis before becoming a student at the universities of Katibougou (Soudan), Dakar (Senegal), and Paris. He gained diplomas in Oriental Languages, Phonetics, and General Linguistics. After having completed his university studies, Mr. Diakhate was trained as a journalist and editor. In this part of his professional career he was to occupy important positions in Paris and Dakar. Thus he became chief of the Information Department of SORAFOM (the Société de Radiodiffusion de la France d’Outre-Mer) in Paris, and director of Radiodiffusion du Sénégal (SORAFOM and the government of Senegal) as well as director of the Information Department of Radio de la Fédération du Mali. In his various public functions, Lamine Diakhate published a large number of newspaper articles in journals like Afrique en Marche (Paris), Condition Humaine (Dakar), Dakar Matin or Le Soleil (Dakar). After having become a close collaborator of President Senghor, he was made chief of the presidential cabinet (Chef du Cabinet de la Présidence du Sénégal) and Minister of Information, Telecommunication, and Tourism. Later on, he also served as Ambassador of Senegal to Nigeria, the Kingdom of Morocco, and as Permanent Counsellor or Permanent Vice Delegate of Senegal (Conseiller ou Délégué Permanent Adjoint du Sénégal) to the UNESCO in Paris.

As a black African author and poet writing in French (an auteur et poète noire africain d’expression française), Mr. Diakhate was one of the leading figures of the Négritude school. In his understanding this literary movement constituted an effort to give voice to the traditions and cultural values of black Africa, and to actively participate in the development of a universal humanism in cooperation with other civilizations. As a literary critic, Mr. Diakhate promoted ideas that had originally been formulated, or expressed, by Aimé Césaire, Léon-Gontran Damas, and Léopold Sédar Senghor. He introduced writers of the Négritude school to his readers and analyzed the works of others who did not belong to this school. Together with Aimé Césaire and Alioune Diop he was one of the five members of the editorial committee of Éditions Présence Africaine in Paris. This publishing house later printed several of his poetical works. And in its journal, Présence Africaine, did appear several of his scholarly articles. For several years he also served as secretary for cultural affairs (secrétaire culturel) of the Société Africaine de Culture (SAC).

In the course of all of his public functions Mr. Diakhate actively participated in a large number of literary festivals and conferences in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Thus he attended several Biennales Internationales de Poésie, for example the V. and und XII. Biennale of Knokke-Le-Zout in Belgium (September 1961; 1975), the Première and Troisième Biennale de la Langue Française in Namur and Liège (Belgium) in the years 1965 and 1969, the Colloques des Écrivains Afro-Scandinaves in Stockholm, Sweden, the Congrès des Ècrivains Afro-Asiatiques in Beirut, Lebanon in March 1967, the Festival Poétique de Struga (ex-Jugoslavia) in August 1976, the Fourth World Congress of Poets in Seoul, Corea, from July 2 until 7th , 979, as well as the 15e Congrès de l’Union Internationale des Journalistes et de la Presse de Langue Française in Paris from September 29 . September until bis October 6, 1979. On several occasions Mr. Diakhate became one of the organizers, for example of the Premier Festival Mondial des Arts Nègres from April 1 until April 24, 1966 in Dakar, the Festival Culturel Panafricain d’Alger of the year 1969, the Journées Culturelles Africaines de Turin, Italy, in April 1967. the Colloque sur la Négritude in Dakar, Senegal, in April 1971, as well as the Introduction à la Poésie de L. S. Senghor in Casablanca, Morokko, in April 1974.

The literary merits of Lamine Diakhate as an auteur et poète noire africain d’expression française were formally recognized on several occasions. Thus he was elected a member of the Société des Gens de Lettres de France in November 1976. And he was awarded two literary prizes: The Prix Edgar Poe for the year 1971, granted to him by the Maison de la Poésie in Paris, and the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Afrique Noire 1979 for his novel Chalys de Harlem.



  • La joie d’un Continent. Editions P.A.B, (Alès 1954) .[poems]
  • « Sarzan ». Liaisons, numéro spécial, l’Afrique nouvelle (Dakar, le 1er mars 1955) [theatrical adaption of a novel by Birago Diop]
  • « Pour la Jeune Fille de Soie Noire », Présence Africaine 2e série no. 3 ( avril – septembre, 1955), 48. [poem]
  • Primordiale du Sixième Jour. Éditions Présence Africaine (Paris 1963). [poems]
  • Temps de Mémoire. Editions Présence Africaine (Paris 1967). [poems]
  • « Prisonnier du Regard »,Présence Africaine, nouvelle série bilingue No. 65 (1er trimestre 1968), 144- 155 [novel].
  • Nigérianes. Nouvelles Éditions Africaines (Dakar/Abidjan 1974). [poems]
  • Prisonnier du Regard. Les Nouvelles Éditions Africaines (Dakar 1975).[novel]
  • Lecture libre de « Lettres d’Hivernage » et d’ «Hosties Noires » de Léopold Sédar Senghor. Nouvelles Éditions Africaines (Dakar 1976). [essai]
  • Chalys d’Harlem. Les Nouvelles Éditions Africaines (Dakar 1978). [novel ]
  • Terres Médianes. Editions Saint-Germain-des-Pres (Paris 1984). [poem]
  • Le Sahélien de Lagos. Les Nouvelles Éditions Africaines (Dakar 1984). [novel]




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