The Epic of Sundiata The Epic of Sundiata is a tale about the ancient kingdom of Mali in Africa and the legendary king and founder of the Mali Empire told by Djeli Mamadou Kouyate a griot, which is equivalent to storyteller. Before the griot begins the story he introduces himself as a “master in the art of eloquence.” He explains how his family had played an important role in preserving the history of the Mali Empire. By serving the princes of the Mali Empire. He says a griots job is to protect secrets, memorize the names and accomplishments of the great kings and preserving “the memory of mankind.” It is the griot that teaches kings their history so they can use lessons of their ancestors to guide their decisions. There is an obvious tone of importance in his introduction as well as a theme of power that resonates throughout the epic. The griot presents himself in the introduction to the audience in a way that gives him prestige. He is persuading his audience to believe that he has the credentials to tell a valid story.
Why did The Epic of Sundiata become so significant and popular? Griots most have known of countless stories to enlighten and entertain their audiences with. the stories can be swayed depending on the audiences reactions to the stories. The stories that did not hold peoples attention, uninteresting,, or disrespectful to culture or beliefs were not passed along or altered by griots to get the audiences’ attention. But I wonder, since griots are