Mandé proverbs

Posted: July 17, 2012 by thanhn09 in Context of Film

The film tells the story of King Sundjata, the first king of Mali Empire. Therefore, many Mandé proverbs have been used in the films or can be referred to, not only to describe the story, but also for the griot Djieba to teach Mabo about the power of traditional knowledge. In this post, let’s explore the meaning of some!

 “The great tree must first push its roots deep into the earth.”

This refers to the scene King Sundjata managed to stand up for the first time thanks to the wooden stick after faiing to stand up by grabbing the iron stick. The iron stick is the symbol of Western modern technology, while the wooden one is the symbol of Mande nature, people and culture. The proverb means that power of the King does not come from technological superiority, but comes from the power of his ancestors, his people and his society. More generally, a society can only make a sound development with a strong base of history and culture.

“This story is like the wind; you cannot stop it.”

Griot Djieba has used it to answer back to Mabo’s mother’s demanding Djieba to stop telling stories to Mabo. The meaning is quite obvious in the proverb itself. It means that the griots’ stories of history have a strong power. By this way or that way, they will find their way to the Mande people in particular and to African people in general, who need to know their ancestors and history to find out their identity.

“It is the hunter who always beats the lions, because it is the hunter who always tells the stories.”

 “It’s an old world and that the future emerges from the past.”

Griot Djieba used them as last words to Mabo before leaving his house. By saying this he meant that African people cannot get independent from the Western power because African people have been letting the Western people tell their African stories. It is time African people, with the help of the griot, to discover the stories, their history and their culture. This is how African people get the power. The world, in which Western knowledge dominates over tradition knowledge, is already the old thing. African people should make new moves towards the bright future of Africa with a strong base of history and traditional knowledge.

Posted by Nguyen Thanh Hang. 
  1. phermc10 says:

    Great! This is interesting

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