The epic of Son-Jara (also known as Sunjata or Sundiata) celebrates theexploits of the legendary founder of the Empire of Old Mali and is still widelyrecited among Mandekan-speaking peoples of West Africa today. As performed bygriots, or professional bards, it embodies deeply rooted aspects of Mande cosmologyand worldview. This edition of the epic presents the full, linear Mandekan text sideby side with John William Johnson's important English translation. Fully annotatedand explained, the text provides historical and contextual frameworks forunderstanding this African epic. A complete recitation of the epic by Jeli fa-DigiSis?k? recorded in the town of Kita, Mali, is sold separately. This powerful textand inspiring performance show why the epic of Son-Jara has taken its place amongthe world's greatest epics.
Johnson, John William
John William Johnson is Associate Professor of Folklore and African Studies at lndiana University; He is co-author (with Thomas A. Hale and Stephen Belcher) of Oral Epics from Africa (IUP, 1997).