Segu Analysis

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The author Maryse Conde has based the story of Segu on real life events and practices of the late 18th and early 19th century. The author has tried to bring out the tensions that existed in Africa at that time by using the four brothers of the Traore family,Tiekoro, Siga, Naba and Malobali as scapegoats. She talks about each of these characters in depth to show us their influences on the city. She shows how traditional religion and Islam impact each character in the story. The traditional religion practiced by the Bambara people revolved around worshipping their ancestors. The believed that there were many spirits and not one but many gods who would govern everyday life. These gods would decide on what was to be done with their current lives and with their feature. The Bamabara’s were so involved with their belief in the different fetish’s that they often adorned themselves with various objects like goatskins hide or wear a necklace made of a claw. They believed in performing various rituals to please the Gods. We are presented with several instances where these beliefs are brought forward. One for example was when Dousika uses a tooth twig that is said to increase “physical stength and sexual potency.” Another instance is when at the time Sira is giving birth to her child, Nya offers an egg to the family ‘boli’ which was said, would ensure that the child would have a good life and also help bring peace. The people of Segu were constantly in contact with Fetish priests, namely the Koumare who with their miraculous powers could speak to the Gods and other sprits to ask for things on the people’s behalf. Islam on the hand was a religion that believed that there was only one God. This one God named Allah had all the powers. He had a prophet named Mohammed. The religion of Islam believed in the equality of all followers, all Allah’s followers were one and Allah was the only supreme religion. Unlike traditional religions belief that soothsayers could tell the future,...
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