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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Critical Note on 'The Epic of Samori Toure'
Author:Jansen, Jan
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic terms:Mali
Subjects:traditional rulers
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
About person:Samori (ca1830-1900) is Samori TouréISNI
Abstract:Samori Toure is celebrated, both in written history and oral tradition, in Mali and Guinea because of the empire he founded and fierce resistance against the French, as they thought to occupy their future colony of the French Sudan. Recently published anthologies of African epic (Johnson/Hale/Belcher 1997; Kesteloot/Dieng 1997; Belcher 1999) attest that an orally transmitted Samori epic exist in these countries. In this paper the texts hitherto presented as the Samori epic are compared to some oral sketches about Samori which the author recorded during two years of fieldwork conducted in southwestern Mali and northeastern Guinea. The author hypothesizes that a Samori epic may be in the making, but does not yet exist. The texts hitherto presented as the epic of Samori are largely oral narratives produced more or less in concord with expectations about what an epic should look like. The focus is on Samori as a hero on the battlefield, and this is not representative for the present-day oral narrative on Samori. Therefore, an epic of Samori, if it ever does come into being and takes the form of a standardized oral narrative, might deal with different issues than one might expect from reading the texts in the anthologies. Bibliogr., notes, ref.