Balancing Written History with Oral Tradition : The Legacy of the Songhoy People book cover
1st Edition

Balancing Written History with Oral Tradition
The Legacy of the Songhoy People

ISBN 9780415646031
Published July 27, 2012 by Routledge
230 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

By balancing written history with the African oral tradition, this book conceptualizes the integrations among diverse peoples of Africa and specifically among the Songhoy people. Drawing from a number of academic disciplines and original research that documents the oral and literate traditions of the Songhoy people, Hassimi Oumarou Maiga offers a unique interpretation of indigenous Songhoy-African perspectives on African history, culture and education from antiquity to the present day and from continental Africa to the worldwide African Diaspora. In explaining the cosmology, philosophy, values and process of indigenous, non-Muslim education, this book also corrects and balances the perception of the Songhoy as a wholly Muslim society. The legacy of the Songhoy Empire, Maiga argues, is as a model of African integration through its administrative and political organization, which remains relevant even today. This book is an essential addition for scholars and students of African history.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. A Long Journey from East Africa to West Africa  2. The Empires of Ghana and Mali  3. Gao: From its Origins to the City of the Askyas  4. Diverse Sociocultural Aspects of the City of Gao  5. From the Age of Kingdoms to the Age of Empires  6. From the Empire Age to the Bureaucratic Age: The Askya Dynasty   7. Invasions and European Domination  8. Traditional Songhoy Society  9. The Songhoy Oral Tradition: Riddles & Story Telling  10. Songhoy Writing Traditions  11. Religion, Belief and Spirituality  12. The Legacy of the Songhoy People  13. Selected African Contributions to the Development of the New World and France  14. A Legacy of African Integration  15. Towards Pan African Integration.  Postface.  Afterword.  Appendix A: Map of the Ghana Empire.  Appendix B: Map of the Mali Empire.  Appendix C: The Empire of Gao at Its Height.  Appendix D: The Empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhoy

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Dr. Hassimi Oumarou Maïga holds a Presidential appointment as Distinguished Research Professor of Education at the University of Bamako, Mali. His published books and numerous scholarly articles include: "When the Language of Education is Not the Language of Culture," Notes on Classical Songhoy Education and socialization: The World of Women and Childrearing Practices, and La Contribution Socio-culturelle du Peuple Songhoy en Afrique.


"The reinterpretation, by native Africans, of the history of their continent and its myriad societies, in their extreme complexity, is a necessary and inescapable evolution of contemporary African Studies. Therefore, Balancing Written History with Oral Tradition: The Legacy of the Songhoy People, by Malian Professor Hassimi O. Maïga, is a work that deserves the widest and earliest possible diffusion. Dense and original, touching and uncompromising, it required a great deal of research and reflection. It is not easy to undermine in one single book, as Maïga has done, as many simplistic interpretations, when not outright lies, as are current regarding the history of African societies, and in particular that of the Islamicized Songhoy people. This work no doubt has a place in academia as well as in the lay world."

- Carlos Moore, Ph.D, Ethnologist, Author of The Blacks in Africa (CCAA/UCLA/1989) and Co-Author of African Presence in the Americas (African World Press, New Jersey, 1995/USA).