Keïta! l'Héritage du griot

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Keïta! l'Héritage du griot
Directed by Dani Kouyaté
Produced by Sahelis Productions
Written by Dani Kouyaté
Starring Sotigui Kouyaté
Release date
Running time
94 minutes
Country Burkina Faso
Language French

Keïta! l'Héritage du griot (English title: Keita! Voice of the Griot ) is a 1995 Burkinabé drama film directed by Dani Kouyaté and starring Sotigui Kouyaté.



Keïta is a retelling of the first third of Sundjata Keita's 13th-century epic, Sundjata.[1] It tells of Mabo Keïta (Dicko), a thirteen-year-old boy who lives in a middle-class family in Ouagadougou and attends a good school. One day he encounters Djeliba Kouyate (Kouyaté), an elderly griot, who wants to tell the young Keïta the origin of his name, being related to Sundjata (Boro). Kouyate begins his story with the Mandeng creation myth: As all living beings come together in the newly formed Earth, one man proclaims to the masses that he wants to be their king. They respond, "We do not hate you." The old griot goes on to tell how Keita's family are descended from buffalo, the blackbirds are always watching him, and how people have roots that are deep in the earth. The film shows realistic-looking flashbacks to ancient times and ends with Sundjata Keita being exiled from the Kingdom of Mande, to which he lays claim.


Dani Kouyaté directed a number of short films before the release of Keïta, his first full-length feature.[1] The film's working title was Keita: From Mouth to Ear.[2] It was shot in the towns of Ouagadougou, Sindou, and Ouahabou.[1] The assistant director was Alidou Badini.[3]


Keïta! received the Best First Film Prize from the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Fespaco) and was awarded the Junior Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.[1] The New York Times praised the film, claiming it "succeeds admirably in keeping... history alive."[4] In a 1995 interview, Kouyate reflected on the experience and commenting on traditional society, saying:

Sometimes when you don't know where you're heading, you have to return to where you came from in order to think things over before continuing your journey. Today, with all the things happening to her, Africa has trouble finding which direction to take—modernity, tradition, or some other road. We are not really capable of digesting all these things. We don't know who we are, and we don't know where we are going. We are between two things. Between our traditions and our modernity.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Gugler 2003, p. 38
  2. ^ Gugler 2003, p. 36
  3. ^ "Alidou BADINI". Africutlures. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (1996-04-12), "Movie Review: Keita! The Voice of the Griot (1995)", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-08-28 
  5. ^ Baaz & Palmberg 2001, p. 99


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