Sundiata

Sundiata Eternal Mali Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mamoudou Kouyaté addresses the reader and states that Mali "keeps its secrets jealously," and griots won't betray these secrets. He says that many kings and Mansas ruled after Sundiata, but none were greater than Sundiata.
In closing, Mamoudou Kouyaté considers the responsibility of griots for a final time. Griots must keep the secrets of their empires, although what these secrets are is left unsaid.
Themes
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Mamoudou Kouyaté implores the reader to visit Mali. He details which cities to visit and what a visitor can see in each location. However, he says, one must not try to discover Mali's mystery, and one cannot go to the "dead cities" and try to question the past or learn what one isn't supposed to learn.
Here, the narrator implies that a reader specifically isn't privy to the secrets and mystery of Mali, while a native to Mali may be familiar with these secrets. This works as a final reminder of the narrator's belief that oral history is superior to written history.
Themes
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Mamoudou Kouyaté says that men today are small in mind and body compared to their ancestors. Sundiata lies near Niani but remains immortal in Mali. Finally, Mamoudou Kouyaté explains how he acquired his knowledge traveling around Mali. He says that everywhere he learned from his masters, but took an oath to conceal what's supposed to be concealed, and teach what's meant to be taught.
Sundiata's legacy continues through oral storytelling, and through the transcription and distribution of the story outside of Mali. In this way, he and the other characters are immortal, as they will exist as long as griots exist to tell this story, and people exist to listen to the stories and learn from them.
Themes
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Family, Community, and the Mali Empire Theme Icon