Sundiata builds Empire of Mali; gold from Mali becomes source of gold .. Since time immemorial the Kouyatés have been in the service of the Keita princes of. Prereading. Sundiata Keita. (circa CE to circa CE), known as “The Lion King,” was the founder of the Mali Empire of West Africa. He was the son of a . Sundiata Keita (Mandinka, Malinke, Bambara: [sʊndʒæta keɪta]) (c. – c. ) (also Warsaw on November (PDF), Orientalia Varsoviensia 2, Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, archived from the original.

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This story is told by a jali - or griot - an oral historian of Mali, West Africa. Sundjata . (also known as Sundiata) was an actual person, the first King of Mali, born. It is generally believed that the Keita are able to lift the roof only because of the power of the words of the. Diabate griots. In short, one can say that the words of. service of the Keita princes of Mali; we are vessels of speech, we I am going to talk of Sundiata, Manding Diara, Lion of Mali,. Sogolon Djata, son of Sogolon.

Through this determination, he one day miraculously got up and walked. Among his peers, he became a leader.

To escape persecution and threats on her son's life, Sogolon took her children, Sundiata and his sisters, into exile. This exile lasted for many years and took them to different countries within the Ghana Empire and eventually to Mema where the king of Mema granted them asylum. Sundiata was admired by the King of Mema for his courage and tenacity.

As such, he was given a senior position within the kingdom. Upon finding him in Mema, they persuaded him to come back in order to liberate the Mandinkas and their homeland. On his return, he was accompanied by an army given to him by the King of Mema.

It was on the plain of Siby var: Sibi where they formed a pact brotherhood in order to liberate their country and people from the powerful Sosso king. He was the first of the Mandinka line of kings to adopt the royal title Mansa king or emperor in the Mandinka language.

Conversely, the written sources left out other pieces of information that the oral tradition includes. The name Sogolon derives from his mother and Jata means lion. It is the traditional way of praising someone in some West African societies Gambia , Senegal , Mali and Guinea in particular.

While the society is infused with Islam, it maintains a polytheistic view of the world in the epic. There are jinns spirits all throughout nature, and gods are mentioned constantly.

The great sorcerers in the work — Sogolon and Soumaoro among them — are in touch with these spirits, and yet Sundiata prevails because he learns to bow before them. Sundiata is an arrogant warrior, understandable because of his strength and bravery, but when he is unable to harm Soumaoro, he does not double down his aggression but instead allows himself to doubt his strength.

It is worth thinking about religion, magic and nature as all part of the same realm in the epic, since all three are intertwined in Mandingo philosophy.

Sundiata’s Early Years, An Unlikely Future King

They all comprise the realm higher than the human realm. When the griot speaks of "secrets" of Mali not available to all men, the secrets of magic are likely amongst those. Fickleness of People Throughout the epic, the griot shows a disdain for "mankind. However, it is most clear in the way that the public is so ready to follow whatever show of strength they see. Many know the prophecy of Sundiata, yet when his birth appears disappointing he is born crippled , the public is quick to grow contemptuous because the new ruler, the queen mother, sows seeds of gossip.

They turn on their future hero quite easily, but when they are in need and learn he is now strong, they are ready to honor him again.

Sundiata’s Mother - The Buffalo Woman

The griot does not paint a pretty picture of mankind in general, but rather makes the implicit charge that mankind is weak and hence needs the right king or strong leader if they are to realize their better qualities.

Otherwise, they will end up following a poor leader and emulating his negative qualities.

Loyalty Perhaps the most important virtue apparent in the epic is that of loyalty. Loyalty exists both between allies in the war that Sundiata wages against Soumaoro, and also between individuals and tribes. Though Sundiata is successful in his battles, he cannot harm the sorcerer king because the latter has magical protections.

Sundiata turns to magic for help, and through sacrifice is able to craft a magical arrow.

In their largest battle, Sundiata nicks Soumaoro with the arrow and the sorcerer king loses his power. Soumaoro retreats and escapes. Accompanied by Fakoli, Soumaoro's nephew who revolted after being betrayed by his uncle, Sundiata pursues Soumaoro for several days.

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They finally trap him in a cave with nowhere to go; they have won. After his victory, Sundiata defeats the kings who stayed loyal to the sorcerer king. He then returns to Niani and founds the Mali Empire, splitting it up to show respect for all the rulers who promise to serve him.

African origin of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: The Mandé Charter

The griot ends the epic by praising Sundiata and his rule of the golden age of the Mali Empire.Hunters declare: All human life is a life. Otherwise, they will end up following a poor leader and emulating his negative qualities. Upon knowledge of Sundiata returning to Mali from his asylum in Mema, Soumaoro, too busy fighting off Fakoli, sent his son, Sosso Balla. Though his choice to return to Mali and battle the sorcerer king upsets the Moussa Tounkara, he is ultimately given his blessing and the first of his subservient armies.

In particular, peace is maintained amongst tribes by recollecting what alliances were forged before the present time, and a griot is fundamental towards keeping track of that.

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