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Sundiata the Lion King
Sundiata is the most epic and heroic story of African origin. Sundiata was the first king of Mali and the greatest and most capable, and thus his people used to refer to him as the lion king, their hero. He was the twelfth born son of King Meghan, who was said to have the strength of a lion and his mother, Sogolan Conde’ who was also referred to as the buffalo because she was so ugly and hunchbacked. His father intended that he would be his successor as it had been foreseen that he was destined for greatness. His father married Sogolan so as to combine her spirit of a buffalo and his of a lion. When his father died, the first wife who ill-treated Sogolan and Sundiata, ensured her son ascended to the throne. Sogolan tried to heal her son with herbs and portions as he couldn’t walk for seven years. One day Sundiata with the help of an iron rod, raised himself to his knees and stood freely on his two legs.Sassouma attempted to use witchcraft because she was afraid of Sundiata increasing power that it failed because of Sundiata goodness. Sundiata went into exile and meanwhile the kingdom was overtaken by soumaoro (Sundiata 45). Sundiata and his family lived in exile for many years until word was sent that they should return, and thus he formed a private army and stayed close to his people. Sundiata returned heroically and in glory and took over the kingdom by forming alliances with neighboring West African states and with the help of his griot who enlightened him that the Sumanguru tana, the secret charm was the source of power that Soumaoro used.

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He overthrew soumaoro and returned to Mali as their king and henceforth ruled for many glorious years.
Sundiata and Gilgamesh stories are comparable in that they are both epic, but neither of the two starts off like great epic leaders from the start. Gilgamesh defied the wishes of the gods and was known as bad king. Both of them had to overcome challenges in their quest so as to discover their purpose. Gilgamesh was driven to find his quest by the anger of the gods while Sundiata journey was provoked by his evil stepmother. They were both kings who ruled over great kingdoms and through their quest they both became much wiser. Gilgamesh and Sundiata had courage, envy, and fear.
The women’s role in Sundiata story is very minimal since they are held in the state of detachment and they are not equal to their men. They don’t hold any positions of power, and they are controlled by the men with whom they have relations. We see their position as bearers and nurturers and they are strong and protective mothers.
Magic is not viewed as supernatural but the extension of the natural world. The forces that are said to control their world are found to exist in trees, rivers, and mountains and if one was to access them all he had to do was pay respect to the spirits. Soumaoro used magic for his evil purpose while Sogolan and Sundiata used it for good reasons.
Henceforth, none shall interfere with another’s destiny. You, your children and your children’s children shall find their appointed place within this land forever-Sundiata, Keita.

Works Cited
Wisniewski, David. Sundiata: Lion King of Mali. New York: Clarion, 1992. Print.
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