Diop, Samba Books

Oral History and Literature of the Wolof People of Waalo, Northern Senegal the Master of the Word (griot) in the Wolof Tradition
1995 0-7734-9031-0
This work (which springs from Senegalese and African oral cultures and traditions, and is the work of an observer and writer from within Wolof culture) provides new insights to the fields of oral and comparative literature. The epic tale contained in the manuscript, (The Epic Tale of the Waalo Kingdom) was collected in the town of Rosso-Sénégal from the griot Sèq Ñan (and the performance was recorded on videotape). Notes to the performance text treat various details relating to Wolof culture and history. The historic and mythic aspects are compared to other oral cultures, drawing from theories derived from ancient Indo-European (Gilgamesh), medieval European (the chanson de geste, Beowulf), classical European (Homer), Arabic and oriental (the Arabic Hilaliya folk tradition). Specialists and experts of Islamic studies will also find this book useful as there is a detailed study of Islam in Senegal and West Africa: the advent of Islam through trade and commercial exchanges between North Africa and Africa south of the Sahara desert; the mixing of Semitic, Islamic an Arabic motifs and inscriptions (the Old Testament, the flood myth, Genesis, the Qur'an) with indigenous African traditional beliefs, religions, and lore. A second oral text collected from Sèq Ñan, a genealogy of the rulers of Waalo, is provided in Wolof and English in an appendix, along with a Wolof text of the genealogy written in Arabic characters. There is also an interview (concerning the transmission of traditional knowledge) with the blind Wolof griot Ancumbu Caam and his son Magate Caam.