Fill This Form To Receive Instant Help

Help in Homework
trustpilot ratings
google ratings

Homework answers / question archive / article Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali

article Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali


article Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. The work is to be 4 pages with three to five sources, with in-text citations and a reference page. Therefore, the study of myths and their interrelationship with the real-life is of the paramount importance for the deeper understanding of the very nature of any human society.&nbsp.

Among the numerous personages of the epic, the story of the relationship between the great king of Mali Sundiata and his griot Balla Fasseke takes perhaps the central place in terms of its importance for the whole narrative. Griots can be seen as professional storytellers and public speakers, but the significance of their social role was much deeper in African societies than it would seem from this superficial description. On the most fundamental level, a griot was perceived as the vessel of the historical memory of a social group. Every king had a griot beside him whose task was to instruct his patron in such a way as to procure the inheritance of the traditions of ancestors. Therefore, griots role was naturally wide-ranging, as they were speaking for their kings, were tutoring their children, and in this way aimed to ". . . bring to life the deeds and exploits of kings for younger generations" (Niane, 1995, p.1). By the way, to prove that griots could rely on orally transmitted traditions we may for instance consider such a stable phenomenon as proverbs, which are referred to in the narrative in the following way: "Men's wisdom is contained in proverbs, and when children wield proverbs it is a sign that they have profited from adult company" (Niane, 1995, p.29).

In the full accordance with the elevated status of griots, Balla Fasseke becomes a close tutor of the prospective king Sundiata yet from his early childhood. Balla educates and instructs Sundiata on the rules of behavior, so that ". . . between his mother and the griot, the child got to know all that needed to be known" (Niane, 1995, p.23). Thus, from the very beginning of the story of Sundiata, the role of his guardian angel is assigned to Balla. In his turn, Balla was very devoted to his patron, which can be seen from his faithfulness to Sundiata even during his exile at the court of a powerful sorcerer-king Soumaoro. But for Sundiata, the absence of the griot does not simply mean the loss of a counselor, but in essence, signifies the disconnection of Sundiata from the memory of his ancestors. Such deprivation of him of the link with the mythical ancestors is a sufficient reason even for war, and in the narrative one of the first signs of the imminent war between Sundiata and Soumaoro is symbolized by the proclamation of Balla Fasseke by Soumaoro as of his new griot. At the same time, the respect that Soumaoro had for Balla proves that the memory of the past is indispensable for all, including such a seemingly powerful personage.&nbsp.On the ground of what we have discussed, we may conclude that even such prominent figures as king Sundiata and other heroes depend on memory as a mythical background only through which they may define themselves. And, interestingly, the very text of "Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali" is itself a beautiful example of the oral form of the communication between epochs that have been used for centuries for the preservation of historical memory.&nbsp.

Purchase A New Answer

Custom new solution created by our subject matter experts