Tchicaya U Tam'si

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Tchicaya U Tam'si (25 August 1931 - 22 April 1988 ) was a Congolese author. His official name is Gérald-Félix Tchicaya; his artist name means "small paper that speaks for a country" in Kikongo.


Born in Mpili in 1931, U Tam'si spent his childhood in France, where he worked as a journalist until he returned to his homeland in 1960. Back in Congo, he continued to work as a journalist; during this time he maintained contact to the politician Patrice Lumumba. In 1961, he started to work for UNESCO.

He died in Bazancourt, near Paris.

Since 1989, the Tchicaya U Tam'si-Award is given every two years for African poetry in the small Moroccan city of Asilah.


U Tam'si's poetry incorporates elements of surrealism; it often has vivid historic images, and comments African life and society, as well as humanity in general.


  • Ces fruits si doux de l'arbre a pain 1990
  • Les Cancrelats 1980
  • La veste d'intérieur suivi de Notes de veille 1977
  • À triche-coeur 1960
  • Feu de brousse 1957
  • Mauvais Sang1955

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