Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: Steve Smith (SteveSmith@XC.Org)
About: The Heritage of the Griot

Wed, 3 Feb 1999 17:28:05 -0500

  • Next message: Steve Smith: "FW: Response: Cry the Beloved Country"
    Xposted from H-AFRLITCINE@H-NET.MSU.EDU =
    Subject: Query: African Literature for Schools

    Not directly as an answer for this query, but as a reminder concerning
    teaching Sundiata for undergraduate and graduate students. There's an
    exellent film by Dani Kouyat=E9 _The Heritage of the Griot_ (Burkina =
    1995, 94 min) which can be used when teaching Sundiata and African oral
    "Keita creates a unique world where the West Africa of the 13th Century
    Sundjata Epic and the West Africa of today co-exist and interpenetrate.
    Director Dani Kouyat=E9 frames his dramatization of the epic within the =
    of Mabo Keita, contemporary boy from Burkina Faso, learning the history =
    his family. During the film, Mabo and his distant ancestor, Sundjata, =
    in parallel quests to understand their destinies, to "know the meaning =
    their names". In so doing, Keita makes the case for an "Afrocentric"
    education, where African tradition, not an imported Western curricula =
    is the
    necessary starting point for African development."
    "The film recounts only a part of the epic, the events surrounding the
    birth, boyhood and exile of Sundjata which correspond to lines 356 to =
    in the standard translation, Johnson, John William, The Epic of =
    (Sundjata): A West African Tradition, Bloomington, Indiana University =
    I have read the parts of Sundjata (translated in Finnish) with my =
    and we have discussed the significance of griot and oral literature. =
    knowing your own history is a central part of griot tradition, after
    screening the film, the students have been asked to work in pairs and =
    to each others the history of their names (their family) and then =
    some of the stories to the class . They have been ashtonished when =
    how little they know about their own roots.
    Mari Maasilta
    University of Tampere

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