Meeting a Mandinka griot
We are travelling overland from Europe, across the Sahara, ending up in Guinea Bissau in Western Africa, in our first year at DNS. We have nick named our journey “Into the Otherness” since our mission is to meet people and learn about their reality and culture. Passing trough The Gambia we visited Alagi Mbye and his family.
by Guendalina, Egle and Gianluca, DNS2017
“The past is what we are. The tradition is what of the past is still valuable for the present. In order to represent a guideline for the future, it is necessary to constantly question the traditions but, first of all, to know them.”
This is the authentic dialog between different cultures and this is also what we, Guendalina Marzulli, Egle Simukenaite, and Gianluca Maggi, tried to do during our The Gambia investigation thanks to Alagi Mbye, a modern Griot who introduced us to the old mandinka culture.
Follow our adventure at our Facebook page. 🙂
A griot is a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician. The griot is a repository of oral tradition and is often seen as a societal leader due to his or her traditional position as an advisor to royal personages.
We have to deal with the uncomfortable fact that even if we are living on the lowest budget in our lifetime, we are still way richer than the majority of people around us. But I see them, and they see me.
‘The Other’ helps to explain identity: why people feel the belonging to this certain group, ethnicity, gender, nation. Fear of “the Other” is being used to promote nationalism.