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By balancing written history with the African oral tradition, this book conceptualizes the integrations among diverse peoples of Africa and specifically among the Songhoy people. Drawing from a number of academic disciplines and original research that documents the oral and literate traditions of the Songhoy people, Hassimi Oumarou Maiga offers a unique interpretation of indigenous Songhoy-African perspectives on African history, culture and education from antiquity to the present day and from continental Africa to the worldwide African Diaspora. In explaining the cosmology, philosophy, values and process of indigenous, non-Muslim education, this book also corrects and balances the perception of the Songhoy as a wholly Muslim society. The legacy of the Songhoy Empire, Maiga argues, is as a model of African integration through its administrative and political organization, which remains relevant even today. This book is an essential addition for scholars and students of African history.
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Dr. Hassimi Oumarou Maïga holds a Presidential appointment as Distinguished Research Professor of Education at the University of Bamako, Mali. His published books and numerous scholarly articles include: "When the Language of Education is Not the Language of Culture," Notes on Classical Songhoy Education and socialization: The World of Women and Childrearing Practices, and La Contribution Socio-culturelle du Peuple Songhoy en Afrique.Review:
"The reinterpretation, by native Africans, of the history of their continent and its myriad societies, in their extreme complexity, is a necessary and inescapable evolution of contemporary African Studies. Therefore, Balancing Written History with Oral Tradition: The Legacy of the Songhoy People, by Malian Professor Hassimi O. Maïga, is a work that deserves the widest and earliest possible diffusion. Dense and original, touching and uncompromising, it required a great deal of research and reflection. It is not easy to undermine in one single book, as Maïga has done, as many simplistic interpretations, when not outright lies, as are current regarding the history of African societies, and in particular that of the Islamicized Songhoy people. This work no doubt has a place in academia as well as in the lay world."
- Carlos Moore, Ph.D, Ethnologist, Author of The Blacks in Africa (CCAA/UCLA/1989) and Co-Author of African Presence in the Americas (African World Press, New Jersey, 1995/USA).
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