African Culture

Englsih-6th Hour
By: Cole Pinno
African culture is strong with oral tradition and the inclusion of the most important piece to this tradition, griots. Griots are historians who travel around the country re-telling African stories by word of mouth, passing them down from generation to generation. These important pieces of oral history are crucial to this culture as they are the only way of knowing a tale as the stories were never put to paper.   For example, the “Epic of Mali” was an oral tradition passed down by a griot named Mamadou Kouyate. His words were then translated by D.T Niane and put to actual paper. Through his writing, we can see that there are many virtues throughout African culture.   The importance of community and hospitality of the people within that community are just a few of those virtues. Usually through writings these virtues would be reflected; however through this special story, the “Epic of Mali”, reveals the exact opposite. Shown through the “Epic of Mali” is the deterioration of community and the hostility of hospitality. The “Epic of Mali” is a parody on what African culture truly is.
Throughout this oral tale, there is deterioration in community rather than unification. This deterioration started when Mali was just a young boy. “Malicious tongues began to blab “town’s people began harassing Mali and his family for he could not walk at the age of three. The towns people gathered and used there harsh words to intimidate Mali and degrade his family. “The wicked queen mother allowed free passage to all those inquisitive people who wanted to see the child that still crawled at the age of seven” the queen’s actions allowed for the public ridicule of Mali yet again. Not only was Mali’s character attacked but his self-worth was lowered as well. Community members are supposed to welcome one another, rather than make one another feel inferior. When one person is excluded the whole sense of community is depleted.
In addition to the lack of...