Tuesday, 21 October 2008


The story of mali sarjo. BY Suntou Touray.
The forbidden relationship between a shy young man and his sister. This story is very sad indeed and the end result was the epic of Mali Sarjo.
The term Mali Sarjo is a name of a certain kind of hippo. An Hippo is refer to Mandingo as Maloo. Malo is an adjective for shame. The names just happen to coincide but Malo is living animal, a creature that lives in the rivers and lakes of Africa.
This story is believed to be a true happening. A moral dilemma and a very unusual relationship between close family. The closeness here cannot be underestimated. Whatever the real tail of this story is, it intrigues the entire mande speaking people.
Mandin is name for a region in West Africa, the modern day Niger, Mali, Gunea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Bukina faso etc. That whole area was populated by the Mande speaking people. Mandingo is tribe that has both mixes of traditional and Islamic cultures. The language among the mande people varies depending on the area were a group of mande people lives. There are common phrases and words with the same meanings but some sayings are completely different. It was among the mande people that the mali sarjo event occurs.
The nature of the story is very unusual. The mandingos are very cultured and principle. Every strata of the society operate on a strict custom and norm. The taboos are very much part of the layers of the society. Like every decent organise society, bed-fellowship between two blood relation is the highest taboo any one can break.
Well, this taboo was spectacularly undone. The perpetrators didn’t break that very untouchable and unthinkable taboo on simple grounds but out of concern and emotion. The journey is indeed an emotional epic.
The man
His sister
The shyness ,not able to express love to women, failing to disclose love to the woman of his dream
The local villagers
The expectations
The custom
The assistant of the sister to help boost the brother’s confidence
When the taboo is broken, the sisters pregnancy
The family meeting for answers, threats to kill her if the culprit is not mention. This version of the story is said to unreliable after several findings. But this version was mention to me several years ago, so to discard it without putting in the public domain for further enquiry will be academically and intellectually weak. A passion strong in me is to along the way research Madin history from a peculiar angle. It is a hubby, so comment on this version’s accuracy if you may. I have another version of the Mali Sarjo story. Time permitting, it shall be narrated.
The periods it happen, the prevailing custom
The final discussion between the sister and the brother
But his spirit couldn’t allow him to go any where
His turning into a hippo (malo). Finally the man who impregnate his sister committed ran away from their village out of shame and fear. He did that despicable act due to the fact he was in-confident to face a woman he loves. His lack of confidence made him confide his weakness to his sister, who volunteer to teach him the act of cohabitation so that the brother can have the confidence to face the woman of his dream. A tragic love story, let the sanyang kunda folks don’t have any funny ideas here. During the practice season, the brother impregnates his sister that once. He knew now what to do to face his love but alas, the events unfolding resulted in disaster.
When his sisters pregnancy became evident, she was confronted by her kabilo (family unit) to identify the culprit, she decline for several days whilst consulting with her brother about their next cause of action. He decided to flee the village and go away for good. But on his way to faraway lands, he decided to commit suicide due to the shame and implications of his actions.
The legends have it that, he arrived at a point where two different flowing water met. This is where a sweet water and salt water met, at that point he throw himself deep into the sea. This attempt was to kill himself, he didn’t die, rather he became a hippo or Mallo in mandinka.
From this epic came the song, aah mali sarjo bafula ben malisarjo’
The story is rushed due to wato. The other version later.


Chiara said...

I love this story...really! is my favourite!!


Thanks Chiara, the part two is now available. i hope you enjoy that as well.