Essay on Sundiata and God's Bits of Wood

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When I was finished reading both Sundiata and God’s Bits of Wood I had a better understanding of the strong relationship between the African people and their leaders. Even though Sundiata and Ihamim Bakayoko became leaders by different means, they displayed a lot of similarities. Sundiata was a king, so the people had to obey him because of his status. However his subjects did not follow him for that reason, they listened to Sundiata because he was a good leader. As a wise African leader, Sundiata ruled in consultation. Sundiata’s number one consultant was his griot, Balla Fasseke. As D.T. Niane said griots know the history of kings and their kingdoms, which is why they are the best advisors of kings because whoever
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Towards the end of the book, the women were even consulting Bakayoko. This could be seen in the From Thies to Dakar chapter where the women were taking an active role in the strike.

The next topic covered by the two books was the role of emotional self-control in African leadership. Traditionally leaders were to show very little if any emotion. That is how Sundiata mainly appears throughout the book. For instance, when he went into battle, he showed no emotion, i.e. whether he was afraid or not. However, he did display some emotion when it was necessary. This was evident in the beginning of the book when Sundiata’s mother was being ridiculed because her son was not able to walk. Hearing this made Sundiata angry. However, instead of flying off the handle, he focused his anger inward and used it successfully to raise himself to his feet and eventually to walk. Sundiata’s anger also shows when the queen mother takes his griot away from him. This time his mother calms him some but not before he has a few words with King Touman. Sundiata also showed his sensitive side when his sister, Nana Triban and his griot escaped from Soumaoro. When his sister told him of Niani’s destruction and the captivity of its people, Sundiata was very sympathetic to the situation reinforcing his desire to recapture the land that was rightfully his.

Ihamim Bakayoko had good emotional self-control too. He displayed this self-control the time he met the work inspector. The
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