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Gassire’s Lute reflects the Soninke heroic period of 500 BC.  Yet the epic, of which this story is a part, comes from a period 1000 years later, (give or take a few centuries) during the growth and height of the Soninke empire of West Ghana .


As you discuss this story with your classmates you might consider the following questions in developing your posts:

  • What does this story tell us about Soninke culture?
  • What values does it prescribe?
  • What can we learn about how the Soninke view themselves, their history, and cultural development?
  • What exactly is Wagadu? 
  • What role does Wagadu play in the lives of this story’s characters?
  • Does her disappearance seem to be a penalty for wrongs committed?
  • Is there a progression in the disappearances that reflects in the human condition?
  • What do Wagadu’s children have to do for her to return?

Will the fifth Wagadu ever exist or will it always be a vision of the future?