Posted: July 9, 2012 by phermc10 in Context of Film

The story being told in the film is one of the most important works of African oral literature, The Sundjata Epic. Here is a brief summary:

This is the tale of how the Mali Empire was founded by the great hero. One day, a hunter visits the king telling him is prediction that he will give birth to a great ruler by marrying an ugly woman. Later, while two other hunters are out trying to defeat a mystical buffalo, they  run into a woman. they ask her about the buffalo and treat her kindly. by this, the woman tells them her secret , that she is the buffalo, and how to kill the buffalo. As there prize for killing the beats the old woman tells them to pick the ugliest girl in her village. The hunters earned her by defeating a monstrous buffalo that was terrorizing a land far away. they than take the prize back to the king. The king takes her for his wife, but she refuses to let him consummate the marriage until magic powers help him to rid her of a wraith that was making her resistant.

A son, Sundiata is later born, but lives with much difficulty. he has to live up to the prophecy, while being crippled and subject to many rumors. after the king dies, the eldest son and his mother force Sundiata and his mother into exile. there Sundiata encounters many new peoples and ways.  while he is away, he learns of a evil sorcerer plotting to take the city. though his travels in exile, he picks up many comrades. when he battles the sorcerer, he cannot defeat him because of the magic, so Sundiata learns magic to aid his efforts. the outcome being the fall of the sorcerer king.

N/A, . “Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali Summary.” GrAde Saver. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Jul 2012. <>.


Here is one version of Sundiata Keita: the Lion King written by Robert D. Shepherd in a new verse.



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