The Fortunes of Wangrin is the fictionalized account of the life of a man the author, Amadou Hampate Ba, claims to have met in 1912. The protagonist, Wangrin, is born to an aristocratic family in Mali, as the French were establishing control over the part of French West Africa known as Sudan. Having attended the "hostage school" where the French trained the children of the indigenous elite, Wangrin establishes himself in the colonial administration and then in commerce. He is able to amass great wealth and power because of his ability to bridge African and European culture. Despite his unique ability to outdo all of his human adversaries, he is unable to escape the fate ordained for him by African traditions.
The author, Amadou Hampate Ba, was born in Bandiagara (in modern Mali) around the turn of the century and was enrolled in the French primary school in Djenne in 1912. Although he was influenced by the Sufi religious leader, Tierno Bokar, he continued his education in Bamako and Goree, Senegal. After working as an African auxiliary in the colonial service, he transferred to the Institut Francais de l'Afrique Noir in 1942. This was the beginning of his career as a folklorist and historian. In 1958 he founded and became director of the Institut des Sciences Humaines in Bamako. He was a prominent advocate for the preservation of African culture informing UNESCO's 1960 General Conference, "In Africa, when an old person dies, it's a library burning down." In 1970 he retired from public service and established an informal school on the outskirts of Abidjan. By the time of his death in 1991, Amadou Hampate Ba had written twenty books in addition to conducting radio broadcasts and making other contributions to the preservation of indigenous African cultures.
The Fortunes of Wangrin by Amadou Hampate Ba, Aina Pavolini Taylor (Translator), F. Abiola Irele (Introduction), Aina Pavolina Taylor (Translator)
Ali Farka Toure by Ali Farka Toure, 1988 (Audio CD)
The Source by Ali Farka Toure, 1991 (Audio CD)
Talking Timbuktu by Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure, 1994 (Audio CD)
Radio Mali by Ali Farka Toure, 1999 (Audio CD)