Sundiata an Epic of Old Mali / Edition 2

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This is a revision of Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, a best seller for 30 years.

Retold by griots, the guardians of African Culture, this oral tradition has been handed down from the thirteenth century and captures all the mystery and majesty of medieval African kingship. It is the epic tale, based on an actual figure, of Sundiata (Sunjata). Part history and part legend, it tells how Sundiata fulfilled the prophesies that he would unite the twelve kingdoms of Mali into a powerful empire.

This Revised Edition includes background information which provides a geographical, religious, social, and political context for the story. A ‘who’s who of characters’ and ‘a glossary of places’ will enhance the reader’s experience.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405849425
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 8/21/2006
  • Series: Longman African Writers Series
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 120
  • Sales rank: 99,048
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Guinea, author and playwright Djibril Tamsir Niane is a descendant of griots – African oral historians/storytellers. He translated Sundiata, as told by the griot Djeli Mamadou Kouyate, into French under the title Soundjata ou Epoque Mandiginue in 1960. It was later translated into English by G. D. Pickett in 1965.

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Table of Contents


Introduction to the Revised Edition

Background Information





Oral Tradition, Pronunciation and Spelling

Who's Who of Characters/Glossary of Places


The Story of Sundiata

The Words of the Griot Mamadou Kouyatç

The First Kings of Mali

The Buffalo Woman

The Lion Child


The Lion’s Awakening


Soumaoro Kantç: The Sorcerer King


The Baobab Leaves

The Return

The Names of the Heroes

Nana Triban and Balla Fassçkç


The Empire

Kouroukan Fougan or The Division of the World


Eternal Mali

Author’s Notes

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009


    Had to read for a college ADW course, but was a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2007

    A reviewer

    Sundiata - An Epic of Old Mali provides a heroic story of Sundiata, who is destined to become a future Malian King. However, Sundiata must defeat the current king, who is an evil tyrant purely interested in gaining money and oppressing others. This epic offers more than an entertaining story it provides a lot of background information, which reveals much about Malian culture and overall African culture during the time of Sundiata 'close to 1230 CE'. For example, the idea of ¿jinns¿ is seen constantly throughout the epic, and jinns are related with Islam and culture. This displays that Mali was an Islamic based civilization. The author of this epic, D.T. Niane, composed this epic by listening to the stories of a Griot 'an adviser who reveals historical information of ancestors' regarding Sundiata. The stories were passed down generation to generation purely by oral tradition. This also reveals the importance of oral tradition in African culture during the time of the Mali Empire. D.T. Niane does a stellar job delivering this epic. He accomplishes his task, which is to inform others about this amazing story in Malian History and its significance to how the entire continent of Africa is shaped in the long run. This book is highly recommended to those interested in African History and epic stories, such as the Iliad and Odyssey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2007

    This book is relatively boring.

    The book, Sundiata an Epic of Old Mali, is small read for students, but will give them a detailed review of Sundiata¿s life. I understand that this book has its purpose, but I would not want to read it again. It did not grab my attention in the first few pages, and did not keep my attention through out the book. If I were to recommend this book, I would recommend it for middle school students because in high school, students would not find this book appealing. I do have to say that the author did a good job of stating their purpose. D. T. Niane did report on the life of Sundiata to show that Sundiata was an important part of history. Niane told how Sundiata founded Mali. This entire book was what I thought it would be¿ a biography about Sundiata and nothing more.

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