Jacques Rabemananjara

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rabemananjara, Jacques


Born 1913, in Tamatave. Malagasy poet and political leader writing in French.

In 1945 and 1946, Rabemananjara was elected a deputy to the French Constituent Assembly. In 1946 he helped found the mass progressive political organization of the Democratic Movement for Malagasy Revival. In 1947, at the time of an uprising in Madagascar, he was arrested by the French colonial authorities and spent nine years in prison.

In his works, which are filled with social indignation, Rabemananjara opposes colonialism. Examples are his verse collections The Seven-stringed Lyre (1948), A Thousand-year-old Custom (1955), Antidote (1961), and the narrative poems Antsa (1948; Russian translations, 1961 and 1973) and Lamba (1956; Russian translations, 1958, 1961, and 1968). Other examples are the tragedy Navigators of the Dawn (1957) and such publicist writings as The Cultural Foundations of Malagasy Nationalism (1958) and Is There Any Further Use for Negritude? (1969). The subject of the book of sonnets God’s Courts (1973) is the barbaric tortures inflicted on supposed criminals in medieval Europe.

Rabemananjara has served in the government of the Malagasy Republic as minister of the national economy (1960–65), minister of agriculture (1965–67), and minister of foreign affairs (from 1967 to May 1972).


Gal’perina, E. “Poeziia v ritmakh tam-tama.” In V ritmakh tam-tama. Moscow, 1961.
In Sovremennye literatury Afriki. (Vostochnaia i Iuzhnaia Afrika.) Moscow, 1974.
Boucquey de Schutter, E. Jacques Rabemananjara: Choix de textes. Bibliographie, portraits, facsimilés. [Paris, 1964.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The "Pioneers" section contains selections from Madagascar's three best-known poets: Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, Flavien Ranaivo, and Jacques Rabemananjara. These selections reflect early Malagasy writers' indebtedness to both French symbolism and the Malagasy literary tradition, and highlight the important themes of negritude and Malagasy nationalism.