Sundiata

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 has killed, and he wears shoes made from human skin. The narrator indicates that he used the power of evil jinn to develop his own power, and the power made him feel invincible. He has little regard for tradition and propriety, and he is extremely cruel to his subjects.

Soumaoro Kanté Quotes in Sundiata

The Sundiata quotes below are all either spoken by Soumaoro Kanté or refer to Soumaoro Kanté. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Pearson Longman edition of Sundiata published in 2006.
Soumaoro Kanté: The Sorcerer King Quotes

Kings are only men, and whatever iron cannot achieve against them, words can.

Related Characters: Mamoudou Kouyaté (speaker), Soumaoro Kanté, Balla Fasséké
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

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Soumaoro Kanté Character Timeline in Sundiata

The timeline below shows where the character Soumaoro Kanté appears in Sundiata. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Exile
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
...announces that he wants Balla Fasséké to lead an embassy to the king of Sosso, Soumaoro Kanté. Sundiata is out hunting and doesn't find out that his griot is gone until... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...They tell Sundiata and Manding Bory stories about the past. They also tell them about Soumaoro Kanté of Sosso, where Balla Fasséké is still being kept. Soumaoro is a powerful and... (full context)
Soumaoro Kanté: The Sorcerer King
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
Mamoudou Kouyaté explains that while Sundiata was in exile, Mali fell to Soumaoro Kanté of Sosso. Upon Balla Fasséké's arrival in Sosso, Soumaoro demanded that Mali pay tribute... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Soumaoro kept Balla Fasséké but let the rest of his embassy return to Niani, bearing a... (full context)
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
One day while Soumaoro is out hunting, Balla Fasséké sneaks into Soumaoro's secret chamber. The walls are covered in... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
...the music. Balla Fasséké realizes that the balafon has never been touched by anyone but Soumaoro, who comes after his victories to sing his own praises. Further, Soumaoro is connected to... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Soumaoro bursts into the chamber in a rage, but Balla Fasséké improvises a song to honor... (full context)
History
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
As Sundiata prepares for his return to Mali, Soumaoro stands as the king of kings. Sosso is the "bulwark of fetishism against the world... (full context)
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Soumaoro despises all people and eventually, his power makes it so there's nothing he won't do.... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
Many men, including Dankaran Touman, answer Fakoli's call. Soumaoro, however, attacks Dankaran Touman. Dankaran Touman flees to forested regions and Soumaoro burns Niani. After... (full context)
The Baobab Leaves
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Sundiata learns that Soumaoro has invaded Mali and that Fakoli is putting up a good fight against him. Sogolon... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
...explains that they left Mali two months ago to search for Sundiata. He says that Soumaoro has razed Mali and that Dankaran Touman fled Niani, leaving it without a leader. He... (full context)
The Return
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
...was destined for Sundiata to return to Mali. Sundiata is now strong enough to face Soumaoro. Moussa Tounkara grants Sundiata half of his army, and Sundiata and Manding Bory leave Mema... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
...accompany him, Singbin Mara Cissé and Mandjan Bérété, tell Sundiata stories of past heroes. Because Soumaoro is a great sorcerer, he knows that Sundiata is coming and decides to attack Sundiata... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
When Sundiata arrives at the valley that leads to Tabon, he sees that Sosso Balla, Soumaoro's son, has already assembled troops in the valley to block Sundiata's path to Tabon. Sundiata... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
...the battle ends, and the armies of Sundiata and Tabon celebrate all night. News that Soumaoro's forces ran from Sundiata spreads throughout Mali. Soumaoro learns of the prophecy regarding Sundiata, but... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Soumaoro and Sundiata's forces meet at Neguéboria. Sundiata's innovative style of deployment destroys the Sosso forces... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
Soumaoro joins the fray. Sundiata throws a spear at Soumaoro, but it simply bounces off his... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
While Sundiata is victorious, he spends the night brooding and wondering how to beat Soumaoro. He realizes that he'll need other weapons, and that all the gossip he's heard about... (full context)
The Names of the Heroes
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Soumaoro and his forces return to Sosso, while Sundiata recruits soldiers from every village he passes.... (full context)
Nana Triban and Balla Fasséké
Heroism Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
Both Sundiata and Soumaoro prepare their armies. Sundiata knows that he must figure out how to destroy Soumaoro's magic,... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
Nana Triban explains that while she initially cried upon her arrival at Soumaoro's court, she was nice to him and soon became the favorite among his wives. He... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Before Sundiata moves his troops to meet Soumaoro, he assembles them in front of Balla Fasséké so that he can boost their morale... (full context)
Krina
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
...war, the fighters must state their grievances and officially declare war. Because both Sundiata and Soumaoro are sorcerers, they send each other owls to carry their words. Sundiata states that it's... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Sundiata's army assembles and Fakoli Karoma arrives. He tells Sundiata what Soumaoro has done to him and offers his men to Sundiata's cause. Balla Fasséké invites Fakoli... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
...likens Sundiata to a tree with long roots and tells Sundiata to assert himself against Soumaoro, but to listen to the past so he knows how to do so. Balla reminds... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
Early in the morning, Fakoli tells Sundiata that Soumaoro is moving his sofas onto the plain. Sundiata orders his troops to move out. Manding... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
On the battlefield, Sundiata can spot Soumaoro by his tall headdress. Sundiata sends his men towards Soumaoro, and his forces quickly break... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
Sundiata draws his bow and shoots the special arrow at Soumaoro. It barely grazes his shoulder, but Soumaoro feels his powers leave him. He looks up... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Sundiata and Fakoli continue to track Soumaoro and Sosso Balla. After taking a shortcut, they climb a hill and see two horsemen... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
...fight, but is taken alive by Sundiata and Manding Bory. Balla Fasséké leads Sundiata into Soumaoro's tower. Soumaoro's magic chamber is different now that Soumaoro has lost his powers; the fetishes... (full context)
The Empire
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
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Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
After destroying Sosso, Sundiata marches to Diaghan, whose king had been a strong ally to Soumaoro. Sundiata takes the city in a morning. Sundiata divides his army into three parts and... (full context)
Kouroukan Fougan or The Division of the World
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
...and salutes his allies. He asks of the assembled who alone could have taken on Soumaoro, and pledges his allegiance to Sundiata. The crowd cheers, and the other 12 assembled kings... (full context)
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Magic and Religion Theme Icon
...The last to process is Sosso Balla, who rides a horse surrounded by donkeys bearing Soumaoro's fetish objects. The crowd screams in horror and taunts Sosso Balla as he reaches Sundiata's... (full context)