by Sunjata - £9.99 Penguin (2005)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780140447361 | ISBN 10: 0140447369
Sunjata Keita was the founder of one of the greatest empires of Western Africa. These two epic accounts of his life portray a greedy, slow-witted child - said to have crawled till the age of seven - who grew up as prophecy foretold to become a mighty warrior, renowned for his bravery and superhuman strength. They describe how, with the help of his sister, who seduced their arch-enemy Sumanguru into revealing his secret powers, Sunjata defeated the Susu overlords and created the Mali Empire which would last for two centuries. Based on events from the early thirteenth century, these tales of heroism and magic are still celebrated across West Africa as part of a living epic oral tradition.
These two versions of Sunjata's story are translations of live performances by two leading Gambian jalis (or bards). The first, by Bamba Suso, centres on the human relationships of the story while the second emphasizes the violent action and supernatural forces. This edition also contains a map, notes and lists of characters.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2018)
In booklists: World Religion & Spirituality - Africa, Mythology, Folklore, Fairy Tales and Legends, West Africa, World Fiction - Africa, World Fiction - West Africa, Black Fiction - Worldwide, In categories: Spirituality, Black, Asian & Other Diasporas, World - Africa, Fiction, Poetry & Writing,