Sundiata (Sunjata) Keita was a West African political leader who would become the founder and first ruler of the Mali Empire in medieval West Africa. He founded the empire circa 1235 CE and ruled until his death in circa 1255 CE. The Mali empire was prosperous under his rule. Sundiata was also the great uncle of the most famous of the rulers of Mali, Mansa Musa, whose well-documented and lavish pilgrimage to Mecca in Arabia made Mali the most famous African empire in the world a that time. Although Sundiata Keita is a historical figure, much of what is known about his life and reign has been worked out by historians studying the near-legendary accounts described in the Epic of Sundiata. These accounts give modern historians a fairly complete idea of Sundiata Keita’s life, but with such accounts nothing is certain.

According to legend, Sundiata Keita was born the son of Chief Nare Maghan, of the Kangaba people on the upper Niger River around the year 1210. He was disabled as a boy, but it is said that he had incredible willpower and wanted to walk like the other boys in his father’s chiefdom.  Through his sheer will, he was one day able to walk but was later driven out of his home when Soumaoro (Sumaguru) Kante killed his father and too control of the Kangaba people. After living in exile Sundiata at the age of 25, amassed an army through alliances with nearby Mandinka people and faced Soumaoro in the battle of Kirina in 1235. Legend has it that Sundiata Keita defeated Soumaoro Kante in the battle because he was a more powerful magician than Soumaoro. Historians now suggest, however, that Sundiata’s superior military strategy played the decisive role in his victory.

After winning the battle of Kirina in 1235, Sundiata quickly founded the empire of Mali that same year.  Initially the empire was set up as a sort of federation, with Sundiata ruling from his capital, Niani, but allowing trusted warlords and chieftains to rule individual provinces with relative freedom under him. This system proved successful during his reign, ushering in fir the first time political stability through much of the interior of West Africa. Part of Sundiata’s success came from being a strong military leader but also in having other strong generals under his command such as Tiramakhan Traore.  Subsequent rulers of Mali, however, beginning with Mansa Musa, consolidated and centralized power at the capital.

The Mali Empire would become the largest and most prosperous state in West Africa with much of its wealth coming from the long-distance salt and gold trade with North Africa across the Sahara.  The Empire at the height of its power would stretch fifteen hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the bend south of the Niger River. Thanks to the strong foundation set by Sundiata who died in 1255, the Mali Empire became one of the most influential states in the African history.





Tony Tokunbo Eteka Fernandez is an International Award Winner, Published Author & Poet, Broadcast Journalist, MC and Youth Empowerment Consultant . He is also The CEO of AFRICA4U and The Founder of Africans in The Diaspora People also see him as a Cultural and Social entrepreneur, which means he is skilled in working with many different communities, bringing people together in successful focused events. Tony has organised many cultural events …involving both BME and mainstream communities. He is skilled in hosting events that reinforce community cohesion and bringing different kinds of people together. He has organised events in The UK, The U.S.A, Holland, Germany, Romania, Malta and Nigeria and has visited over 22 European Countries. Tony has also organised The Black History Month Celebrations at The UK House of Parliament for over five years in a row He continues to promote the true life and success stories of Africans in Europe and Africans around the world and has organised several small scale literary and awards initiatives aimed at empowering young people. He has also spent time as an International broadcaster and was The Producer and Presenter for AFRICA4U International Radio Talk Show at Reading4u Radio Station for nearly three years. Tony has interviewed high profile Members of Parliament, Distinguished celebrities and some of Africas best musicians including Ivonne Chaka Chaka and Kanda Bongoman. He has also been a guest on BBC Radio on numerous occasions to discuss the community cohesion events he organises at UK House of Parliament and also to recite some of his published work in memory of Nelson Mandela, 50 Years Anniversary of The race relations act and major community issues. Tony has also a Guest on popular Radio stations in Nigeria and The States In the last few years he has been very passionate about Youth empowerment, community cohesion and cultural intelligence. Tony was born in South London and has lived in several parts of England and Nigeria . He started writing at the tender age of nine, a habit he expressed with creative enthusiasm. Tony writes Poetry, short stories and proverbs on personal development. He is currently working on his 4th book which will also be his first novel. He is also into Public Speaking at Special events and Social functions and is a Mentor for young people in the UK Community. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at The University of Lagos, Nigeria in English and World Literature. He later went on to attain a teaching qualification at The Frances King International Training Institute, South Kensington London, it was here he studied Teaching English as a Foreign Language. He also studied Web Design at The City University in London. He published his first book in June 1999 called “The Beauty in the Dark” (A Collection of Poetry which received critical acclamation in many circles around the world). .Tony’s aim in life is to inspire the young generation and to encourage the youth to make the very best of their dreams and aspirations,. He published a 2nd book in June 2009 called ” The Sound of Running Water” – A Family gift book of proverbs and quotations on Personal Development and Positive Thinking . In December 2009, he published his 3rd book called “One Moment of Peace”.- A collection of Poetry inspired by personal experiences and spiritual growth. Besides the fact that the Artist has won International online awards, he is mostly inspired by Life experience, love, music and cultural awareness. He was Resident Poet at the 5th London Poetry Festival in 2009 and has been a guest on BBC Radio on very many occassions including The famous Anne Diamond Show. He has also been a guest on a few SKY TV stations and several International Radio Stations around The World
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