What is Sundiata's epic quest in Sundiata?

Quick answer:

In this epic, Sundiata's retrieval of Mali from the clutches of Soumaoro Kante is his epic quest. He does so by military means and in this way goes about restoring his homeland and its power and prestige.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this excellent example of an African epic, Sundiata, the epic hero of the people of Mali. Coming from rather obscure origins, being born to a hunchback wife and a handsome prince, Sundiata is the epic hero who succeeds in delivering his own people from a ruthless tyrant and also establishing Mali into a powerful empire. His epic quest is therefore one of a return to his rightful homeland and an act of restoration as he restores Mali to the country that it once was and adds to its power and prestige. Note how the epic quest that Sundiata must embark upon is refered to by Mandjan Berete, Sassouma's brother:

Soumaoro Kante, the powerful king of Sosso, has heaped death and desolation upon Mali. The king, Dankaran Touman, has fled and Mali is without a master, but the war is not finished yet... We have consulted the jinn and they have replied that only the son of Sogolon can deliver Mali. Mali is saved because we have found you, Sundiata.

Thus it is that Sundiata finds out about the prophecy declaring him to be the saviour of Mali and the archnemesis of the sorceror king, Soumaoro Kante, Sundiata's military exploits in retaking his homeland and defeating the sorceror king make up a sizable portion of this epic classic.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial