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: 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.
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.
Soumaoro Kanté: The Sorcerer King
...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)
The Baobab Leaves
...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)
...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)
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)
...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)
The Names of the Heroes
Nana Triban and Balla Fasséké
...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)
...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)
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
...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)
...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)