"Oh son of Sogolon, I am the word and you are the deed, now your destiny begins." p. 58
The myth of the king who turned Mali into an empire really should stand right alongside The Odyssey, Gilgamesh, etc. as one of the great old epics. It's got everything, from an evil sorcerer king who wears the skins of other kings he's vanquished, (and who keeps a giant water serpent in his room) to a hero who's crippled through childhood... up until he's able to uproot a tree with his bare hands around the age of ten. Jinns, men talking across long distances by way of magical owls, invulnerability, splitting of a mountain, sex with a hunchback, and many other things round out the story.
The story of Sundiata is filled with the sort of incredible, fantastical doings that always make old epics like this so much fun--alongside a sense of actual history that can't quite be extricated from that. (Sundiata was, far as I know, a real person.) The similarities to the story of Arthur, as well as to the military exaggerations of Chinese history novels such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, stands out very strongly, making it accessible enough. But the character of the story is, in many ways, uniquely African, and in such a way as to effortlessly challenge myths of "savage" or "uncivilized" peoples.