"Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali" is the life story of Sundiata, the son of a Malian king. Following the death of his father, Sundiata endures adversity after being exiled. In an act of redemption, he builds up an army and defeats an evil sorcerer to become king of Mali.
The story begins with Maghan Kan Fatta, the ruler of Niani. The king is told by a soothsayer that his true heir would be conceived from his marriage to an ugly woman. Royal hunters then bring Sogolon, an ugly maid from a far-off land. Sundiata is soon born after the king takes Sogolon as his wife to fulfill the prophecy.
Sundiata's life takes an unfortunate course. He is crippled and subjected to cruelty at the hands of his father's first wife. Following the death of Maghan Kan Fatta, Sundiata and his mother are exiled from the kingdom. They travel for seven years, living with different kinds of people. Sundiata acquaints himself with many cultures and soon learns of Soumaoro Kante, a cruel king who was trying to gain control of the kingdom of Mali. Sundiata decides to return to his Niani in order to save it from falling into the hands of Kante. He traces his steps and revisits the places he passed through his years of exile.
Sundiata finds many followers in these cities and is successful in building an army before his return to Niani. A war follows, which results in Sundiata defeating Soumaoro Kante and becoming the king of Mali.