Sundiata Keita’s Balafon


Sundiata Keita


Wooden Xylophone


Initiates confederacy among defeated peoples


Desire to expand regional influence



Collected by

Warehouse 9







Date of Collection

December 2, 1539


Origin[edit | edit source]

According to traditional oral griot poems, Sundiata Keita rose from ridiculed hunchback to founder of the Malian Empire. His family was ostracized from their Maninka brethren after the king’s death, and were forced to seek refugee with the neighboring Mema tribe. After gaining the respect of their king, the Sosso tribe attacked the Maninka and challenged Keita to reclaim his nation. Keita raised a Mema army to defeat the Sosso and establish the first Malian Empire.

Under his reign, Keita established a loose confederacy of local leaders to govern the various parts of the kingdom, rather than a singular leader. He also established the importance of local African religions and Islam, introducing the practice to the region. Practicing Islam became the standard for his successors, including the wealthy Mansa Musa who led an exorbitant pilgrimage to Mecca.

Effects[edit | edit source]

Playing makes people who have suffered from continual failures or losses band together to form an an informal coalition. Whatever their abilities, they will subconsciously know how to improve the others’ conditions, barring their own. Such assistance will normally benefit all attached to the group. However, the main leader within the group will desire greater territory, wealth or control to ease the group’s difficulties. Sometimes these actions lead to great windfalls, other times the charter turns upon itself and ends up injuring its own members.

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