Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali

Death

Mansa Sundiata Keita died in c. 1255. This is generally the accepted year of death.[32][47] There is however very little information regarding his cause of death. Not only are there different versions, mainly modern, but Mandinka tradition forbids disclosing the burial ground of their great kings.[48][49] According to some, he died of drowning while trying to cross the Sankarani River, near Niani.[48][50] If one is to believe Delafosse, he was "accidentally killed by an arrow during a ceremony."[51] Others have maintained that, he was assassinated at a public demonstration.[50] At present, the generally accepted cause of death is drowning in the Sankarani River, where a shrine that bears his name still remains today (Sundiata-dun meaning Sundiata's deep water).[48] His three sons (Mansa Wali Keita, Mansa Ouati Keita and Mansa Khalifa Keita) went on to succeed him as Mansas of the Empire. The famous West African and ostentatious[52] ruler Mansa Musa was his grandnephew.[7]


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