Book Review: Sundiata

Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, by N.T. Diate is based on oral story of the birth and rise of Sundiata, 7th and last conqueror of Mali, as passed on from generation to generation by griots (troubadours).

It’s a very interesting epic taking place in the 13th century, which provides the reader with a look lot only into history of the region, but with insight into traditional beliefs and culture of Mali. I found the syncretism of Islamic and traditional beliefs quite interesting and wonder how that might have changed today.

As with any epic, the objectification of women and portrayal of sexual violence against women is rampant. Other content warnings include violence and enslavement.

It is an interesting tale if you are looking for an introduction into Mali. Though I usually find epics boring, the portrayal of traditional beliefs kept me interested and it helped that it was around 100 pages long.

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