In 1382 AH, in the hot lush savannah country which lies four days up river from the coast of the Gambia, Kajali Demba died peacefully in his sleep. For too many years he had been the griot of the village of Juffure, serving the local Mandinka as an oral historian, poet, praise singer and wandering musician.
Saga of an African FamilyHis successor would be the young man Kinte (pictured second from left) who began his first address with a simple demonstration. Cutting open a mango, he held the fruit high above his children, preventing them from taking it.
He then began his oration with a piece of homespun wisdom, "When you clench your fist, no one can put anything in your hand, nor can your hand pick up anything". This metaphor of non-violence had served his people for half a millenia of peaceful existence by the banks of the River Gambia.