Born in 1906 at Joal in Senegal, of the Serere tribe, Senghor has had a distinguished career as a scholar, philosopher and politician. Educated in Senegal and France, he was the first West African to graduate at the Sorborne in Paris. He has taken a prominent part in the cultural and political development of his country and of Africa. He became in 1960, and still is, the first President of the independence Republic of Senegal. He is the foremost thinker and writer on Africa Culture and the greatest African advocate of Negritude.
The poem, I Will Pronounce Your Name by Leopold Sedar Senghor is a love proclamation to a young woman called Naett. In emphasizing his love to the young woman, the poet employs or makes use of repetition throughout the poem. Naett is mentioned six times in the poem by the poet. Symbolically, Naett represents Africa. Senghor declaims his love for Africa, using poetically the image of a woman.
In the poem first line, the poet avers that having fallen deep in love with Naett, he “will pronounce your name,” and if that is not enough for the world to hear or know, then “I will declaim your name, Naett.” To the poet, the name of Naett is “mild like cinnamon,” and “it is,” of course, “the fragrance in which the lemon grove sleeps.” In the third line of the poem, there is a use of metaphor in which the poet compares Naett to “sugared clarity of blooming coffee tree.”
The name of Naett, each time when pronounced, takes the echoing resemblance of “savannah.” The name of Naett blossoms forth in the poet’s ears similarly to “masculine ardour of the midday sun.” It is fresher and quite remarkable than the shadows of tamarind. The name of Naett causes immediate “dry tornado, the hard clap of lightening.”
Naett is to the poet a “coin of gold,” so precious and “shining coal.” Naett is extremely essential and she forms the bases of the poet’s life, thereby becoming “my night, my sun!…” Without the existence of Naett, the poet feels his life has been upended, vague and completely worthless.
In line 9 of the poem, the poet declares “I am your hero” and for the fact that Naett’s name has obsessed and cast spell on him, making him not to think about anything else except Naett, therefore, “I have become your sorcerer.”