Much of what is known today about this individual is by stories which have traveled by word of mouth across history, in a parallelism which sometimes might seem to be shadowed by the legend of this historic figure who despite the odds that were against him, rose above those who stood against him, and unified the people of West Africa against the imposition of his brother, in whichwould conclude in a victory for him, which was then followed by the creation of the Mali Empire, which would last till the 1600’s. This individual truly is an example of not only leadership, but also great personal attributes, which echo to this day as he is hail as a hero, passing on a legacy which lives to this day.
As it is known, the father of Sundiata Keita was a powerful ruler on WesternAfrica on the region of Mandinka. A visit of prophetic proportions would then change the king’s world as an individual came to his court and foretold the rise of a powerful and mighty king. Yet this will only take place if the king married an ugly woman, yet despite being already married and having a son which could rise to the throne of his father, the king took the decision to marry once againwhen he met a woman from the Do kingdom who was apparently extremely ugly. It is said that not only was she extremely ugly, but that she was also hunchbacked. This woman then became the mother of what would be one of the most powerful rulers in Africa in all of history.
Sundiata Keita was forced to struggle since an early childhood, as he bear many of the characteristics of his mother, yet the kingnever lost fate in the prophecy that had been given to him, for which neither did he gave up on his son. Sundiata had several physical weaknesses, one of his deprived him from the ability to be able to walk on his early years, and bear a back which denied him from the ability to stand up straight. Yet despite all odds against him, the king decided to stick to what the Gods had relied to him viathe prophecy and gave Sundiata his own “griot” at an early age. This was not only custom, but also a key move on the part of the king since griots had the responsibility to carry with them the oral traditions of the community; this was not only tradition, but also a great honor which could be given to someone at that time, along with this, the griot would also serve Sundiata as a partner for life,on which he could rely and which he could consult at any time.
Time went by and King Nare Maghann Konate eventually became victim of death in 1224, at which point Sundiata was supposed to rise to the throne of his father, as the king had decided. Yet Sundiata’s half-brother Dankaran Tuman, first son of the king took the throne instead once their father passed away. It is at this particular pointthat according to the regions folk tales the new king marked his own downfall. For, as the story says he decided to go not only against the wishes of his father, but also against the wishes of the God’s themselves who had sent the visitor who told the king of the prophecy of Sundiata and his destiny to become the king. It is said that once Dankaran took this action, he was cursed by the gods whohe had defied so bluntly.
With the ascension to the throne of Sundiata’s brother, things in the royal family reach a critical point. For not only did Dankara had envy for his brother who was always foretold to be the mighty king, but also because the king had decided to follow that path, and thus leaving him in the shadows of his younger brother. The family side of Sundiata became the victim andsole target of the new kings hate and envy, which was made even worse by his mother, who also was hateful of Sundiata, his mother, and other siblings which were now part of the family. It is said that at one point Sundiata even obtained an iron road from the blacksmith, which he used in order to apparently fix his posture and walk with it after an insult form his brother. Yet the situation did...
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