Sogolon Kedjou's Role In Sundiata

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Sogolon Kedjou is a powerful character in the epic first and foremost because she conceives and births Sundiata, the founder of the Mali Empire. Her most important role is that of a mother, which can be problematic when discussing the importance and influence of women in the epic because it emphasizes fertility and the female body over the female mind and internal powers beyond conception. With regards to the importance of conception and fertility in women, there is a consistent theme of male ownership over females throughout the epic. It should be noted however that Sogolon represents a strong female character that is arguably responsible for the creation of a great empire. For without Sogolon and her great powers, Sundiata would not exist…show more content…
Her overall worth to Sundiata’s success manifests out of her sexuality and ability to seduce to Soumaoro Kante to get the information she needs. Although this information is critical, the way it was received is problematic when discussing female agency and power throughout the epic. Nana Triban plays an important role as a necessity to the Empire’s success however her role is valued in terms of her body. In addition her bodily autonomy is diminished when she is taken as a slave wife and only regained her autonomy when she escaped with the help of a man, Balla Faseke. She is then only liberated when she passed the information on to another man, Sundiata and proves her loyalty to the empire. Virtually all of Nana Triban’s importance exists through the assistance to and from men and her power and influence stems from her…show more content…
Sassouma Berete or otherwise known as the “Queen Mother” is a powerful and influential woman throughout the Epic, but is juxtaposed as an antagonist in the story next to Sogolon. Sassouma was the first wife of King Maghan Kon Fatta and gains much power over the kingdom after the passing of the King. She is the orchestrator of Sundiata’s exile and exerts her authority to make her own son king, despite the prophecy that Sundiata will be the great ruler of an Empire. Sassouma is of royal blood and uses her connections to get what she wants. Although she is eventually unsuccessful in undoing Sundiata’s conquering of the empire she is able to stifle the growth of his power through her own authority. Sassouma’s influence is so great that the word of Sundiata’s exile spreads to other kingdoms and they are refused admittance to towns and other kingdoms. This is so because the dominance and control of Sassouma is so great that other kingdoms comply with her will out of fear of her wrath. Sassouma provides a great example of a strong and influential woman because she is able to get what she wants from others regardless of rigid patriarchal structures set by years of cultural standards of male domination. For the time being she is stronger than other male rulers, Sundiata, and even the Buffalo Woman,
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