Nowadays, when people think of lion king, a popular Disney story about a young lion coming of age usually comes to mind. However, the great Sundiata Keita, founding ruler of 13th century Mali, was well known and documented as the Lion King centuries ago. Born severely crippled, the young Malinke boy overcame great physical challenges to become a wise, courageous, warrior king who founded what would become one of Africa’s greatest kingdoms.
While the epic story of Sundiata Keita’s rise to power is well celebrated, less known is that he began his reign issuing a charter that outlined the social and political rules by which the united kingdom would operate. Formulated in cooperation with an assembly of nobles, the Manden Charter oral decree set forth clear priorities and guidelines that encouraged social peace, food security, freedom of expression, and other practices that supported national solidarity.
To learn more about the extraordinary founder of the Mali empire, who created and governed according to one of the world’s earliest national charters, click here.