Sundiata/Maghan Mari Djata
Son of Sogolon and Maghan Kon Fatta; brother of Manding Bory, Djamarou, and Kolonkon. Sundiata is a famous thirteenth-century West African conqueror, the Mansa (king of kings) who united Mali and… read analysis of Sundiata/Maghan Mari Djata
Sundiata's mother, and the second wife of Maghan Kon Fatta. Sogolon, who was prophesied to birth a great ruler, is exceptionally wise and ugly. She has a hump on her back, and is… read analysis of Sogolon Kedjou
Manding Bory/Manding Boukari
Sundiata's brother, son of Namandjé and Maghan Kon Fatta. Manding Bory and Sundiata are extremely close and Manding Bory is instrumental in Sundiata's triumph. He's described at times as "artless" and as being… read analysis of Manding Bory/Manding Boukari
The sorcerer king of Sosso and Sundiata's adversary. Sundiata must defeat Soumaoro Kanté in order to fulfill his destiny and unite Mali. Soumaoro Kanté keeps many fetish objects, including the heads of kings he… read analysis of Soumaoro Kanté
Son of Sassouma Bérété and Maghan Kon Fatta. Dankaran Touman is the king of Mali after Maghan Kon Fatta’s death, and his weakness as a leader leads to the loss of his kingdom to… read analysis of Dankaran Touman
Maghan Kon Fatta
Sundiata's father, husband to Sassouma, Sogolon, and Namandjé. Maghan Kon Fatta is described as very handsome and a good king. He often sits with his court and his griot, Gnankouman Doua… read analysis of Maghan Kon Fatta
Sundiata's griot; son of Gnankouman Doua, the griot of Maghan Kon Fatta. Balla Fasséké is extremely loyal to Sundiata and he encourages Sundiata with his songs and stories, particularly “Hymn to the Bow.” He's very good at earning the trust of crowds and individuals with his songs and stories.
The narrator of the story and a modern-day griot. He believes that stories and history are meant to be heard and spoken, not read, and he shows a great deal of disdain for the reader.
Maghan Kon Fatta's griot, father of Balla Fasséké.
A hunter who visits Maghan Kon Fatta. He's a soothsayer and he foretells that if Maghan Kon Fatta marries an ugly woman, the son from this marriage will be greater than Alexander the Great.
Brother of Oulani; a hunter who brings Sogolon to Maghan Kon Fatta's court.
Brother of Oulamba; a traveling hunter who brings Sogolon to Maghan Kon Fatta as a gift.
The Old Woman
An old woman, capable of shape shifting into a buffalo, who tells Oulamba and Oulani how to kill the buffalo of Do after they impress her with their generosity. Sogolon is her wraith.
Soumaoro's son; an instrumental figure in Soumaoro's military advancements against Sundiata.
Keleya's husband and Soumaoro's nephew. Fakoli Koroma is initially Soumaoro’s chief general, until Soumaoro betrays Fakoli by abducting Keleya. After that, Fakoli allies himself with Sundiata and helps to defeat Soumaoro.
Maghan Kon Fatta's third wife, mother of Manding Bory. She's very beautiful and she dies when Manding Bory is still a young child.
Sogolon's youngest daughter with Maghan Kon Fatta; Sundiata's sister.
Sogolon's first daughter with Maghan Kon Fatta; Sundiata's sister. She's proficient in witchcraft and she watches over Sundiata.
Master of the royal forges of Niani.
Fran Kamara/Tabon Wana
One of Sundiata's best friends; the prince and later king of Tabon.
One of Sundiata's closest friends, the prince and eventual king of Sibi.
The most powerful of the nine witches Sassouma assembles to kill Sundiata.
A sorcerer king of Djedeba. He attempts to use sorcery to kill Sundiata at Sassouma's bidding.
Mansa Konkon's daughter
daughter of Mansa Konkon, the sorcerer king of Djedeba.
King Soumaba Cissé of Ghana
The king of Ghana. He welcomes Sogolon, Sundiata, and the other children to his court, and assures them safe passage to Mema when Sogolon becomes ill. He thinks very highly of Sundiata and sees that Sundiata will one day be a great king.
King of Mema, and brother to Massiran. He trains Sundiata and Manding Bory to be great warriors and rulers.
The sister of Moussa Tounkara of Mema. She treats Sogolon like an old friend.
Sassouma's daughter and Dankaran Touman's sister. Dankaran Touman sends her to the court of Sosso to appease Soumaoro, but she escapes with Balla Fasséké and joins Sundiata's cause. She exhibits none of her mother's cruelty.
Fakoli Koroma's wife.
Sassouma's brother and a member of Maghan Kon Fatta's court; part of the resistance group of soothsayers who searches for Sundiata.
Singbin Mara Cissé
One of the soothsayers who travels with Sundiata to re-conquer Mali.
Siara Kouman Konaté
Sundiata's uncle, the king of Do.
Do Mansa-Gnemo Diarra
The king of Do who grants Oulamba and Oulani Sogolon for killing the buffalo of Do.
The king of Sibi.
The king of Kita, whose incredible power stems from the protection of a jinn who resides in the mountain Kita Kourou.
A tribal chief who takes over the defense of Sosso after the battle of Krina.
One of the Bambara kings of Mali. On his pilgrimage to Mecca, he was robbed in the desert and nearly died of thirst, but God and jinn saved him and he was able to return to Mali.
One of the Bambara kings of Mali, and one of Sundiata's ancestors.