The Epic of Kelefaa Saane

The Epic of Kelefaa Saane

Sirifo Camara, Sana Camara
Distribution: World
Publication date: 04/23/2010
ISBN: 978-0-253-00424-6
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This powerful and popular epic honors the legendary warrior prince of Kaabu and Mandinka cultural hero, Kelefaa Saane. A standard of the griot repertoire, the epic of Kelefaa Saane is customarily taught to young performers at the beginning of their careers. Sirifo Camara’s masterful recitation was recorded in Dakar in 1987. It has been transcribed in Mandinka and is translated into English here for the first time. The epic, as it describes Kelefaa’s life and exploits, relates what it means to be Mandinka. Kelefaa’s extraordinary prowess and virtue derive from the political, social, moral, and theological founding myths of the Mandinka people. This beautiful and engaging performance provides a unique perspective on the intellectual and literary heritage of West Africa.

Author Bio

Sana Camara is Associate Professor of French at Truman State University. He is editor of Wolof Lexicon and Grammar and editor of Sëriñ Muusaa Ka: Melokaani Roytéef [Sëriñ Muusaa Ka: the example of a role model], a compilation of six Wolof poems about the life of the spiritual guide of the Muridiyya brotherhood.


“Historically and literarily important . . . an excellent teaching tool in courses on African history, literature, oral tradition, and folklore.”
 — Jan Jansen, University of Leiden

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Note on Spelling and Pronunciation
The Epic
Annotations to the Text

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