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Kunta Kinte: The Struggle For Identity And Freedom.

Have you read the story about Kunta Kinte in the roots book? Or seen the movie roots?

This is a book all humans should identify with especially Africans. A book packed with so much knowledge about the African man and his identity. Kunta Kinte is a symbol of hope, freedom and identity for the black continent.

The Story Of Kunta Kinte

Gambia: Kunta Kinte Country
A view of Gambia


In 1767, a young lad of 17 years was captured and sold into slavery. His name is Kunta Kinte a native of the Mandinka people of Gambia.

One fateful day, Kunta Kinte was out on the island fetching some woods when he was kidnapped. This was the last time Kinte saw his home and county before he died.

He was sold to an American master on his arrival. His master renamed him Toby but Kunta refuse this new identity. He chooses to be called Kunta Kinte.

As time travels, this boy tried so many times to escape to freedom. He fights to keep his name and also to be free but he never did.

Kunta Kinte was caught once again on his fourth attempt at freedom. However, for his disobedience, he will pay the ultimate price. He was given the choice to either be castrated or his right leg chopped off. He sacrifices his leg.

At this junction, Kunta Kinte accepts his new identity, lost all hopes for freedom and the quest to see his motherland again.

Kunte married another slave on the farm and gave birth to a lovely daughter. Nevertheless, the fate of Kunta Kinte was far from a happy ending.

His daughter was sold to another family and while he was still nursing his loss, his wife was sold too. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Several years later, his daughter Kizzy came to the farm. She was told about the sad tale of her family. On the grave name of her father, was boldly written, Toby. She erases it and wrote Kunta Kinte.

Kizzy pledges to her father to hold up the message of freedom to her generation and generations after her.

Kunta Kinte’s Homeland In Gambia

Juffure: Kinte village
Juffure town. ©wikipidia


James Island is located in the North Bank of the Gambia River. A place where slaves are kept before they are transported. The Island is located in the village of Juffureh.

Juffureh is also the home of Kunta Kinte. His family are known as skilled warriors. The people of Juffureh are Muslims and Kinte’s family are not excluded.

The root of passage from transporting slaves is through the Gambia river.
The River is also a major transit corridor from the Atlantic Ocean into Africa.

According to CNN, at its peak, “one in six West Africans slaves came from this area”. Also, Aja Mariama, a seventh-generation of Kunta Kinte said

“When Kunta was captured, his father wrote on a piece of paper that until the end of times, his son’s name will not be forgotten. He was a warrior. He was brave,” says Mariama.”

Will you agree with me that his father’s words came to pass? After 300 years, Kunta Kinte is still a name that rings a bell in Africa and beyond.

Due to the famous tale of Kunta Kinte, and the huge flock of tourists to the site, the government renamed the Island. Your guess is as good as mine.

Alex Haley: The Author of Roots

Kunta Kinte Author: Alex
Alex Harley


For twelve years Alex search for his root. Haley claims he is a seventh-generation of Kunta Kinte from his maternal side. He explained, his grandmother told him about the tale and tragedy of Kunta.

He further said that the movie roots was a true-life story combined with a bit of fiction. A true-life story of his ancestors. No one can tell where the true story ends and the beginning of the fiction.

American author, Harold Courlander sites that the tale of Kunta Kinte was taken from his book, The African. After many battles between the two, Haley accepted that he used the article as a research tool.

Alex paid Courlander for copyright infringement. This however did not halt the fire that was burning in every American and African American family. Everyone could relate to the saga of the Kinte’s family.

Kunta’s Fight For Identity

Do you remember my last post on African last names? It mentioned a segment about African American last names. I said that most slaves were given a new name by their masters when they arrive.

In the article, I also stress the fact that these names have no link/connection to the identity of the people. Kunta Kinte Saga has verified this claim.

An African name is a powerful tool. It exists as a spirit on its own. A backbone of every African child. When your name is stolen from you, a part of you goes with it. This is the case of Kunta Kinte.

The Impact of Kunta Kinte Story On The American People.

The roots brought a lot of sensitivity to the American family. It reminded them that, first of all, we are all humans irrespective of our skin colour.

After a long week of the roots movie on BBC, a lot of people trace their genealogy tree. It became a new hobby. ( tracking of ancestors). It also gave rise to the questioning of American history.

Similarly, it is employed as a tool to teach at all academic levels. From kindergarten to college.

Furthermore, for kids born during the era, parents name their male child Kunta and the females Kizzy.

Millions of African Americans also sort for their roots. The search for identity and being was in the mindset of the young and old.

The movie roots questions the two most crucial things in a man’s life. the day he was born and why he was born. It also asked about the existence of man.
Who am?
Where do I come from?
Where do we go from here?

views On The Roots Movies

In the course of my research, I came across diverse views on the story. Here are some of them.


The root is a masterpiece. It should be required viewing for every black family in America ( preferably together).

Nicki Blanco – 2 years ago

Although it was plagiarized, it does give some insight on the transatlantic slave trade, the different generations of slavery and how the different eras post-slavery still had impacted black and whites our economy and how racism hasn’t changed. it’s a great read and movie. I read the book in 4th grade, it made me grateful for the pain, blood, sweat, tears, thievery, broken homes, sacrifices our ancestors endured.

Hema Dear 1 year ago

In my eyes we all are colourless. I see it that way because we all are born the same way, we fall ill the same way, we grow old the same way and we die the same way. This identification is given to African people who stole them from their mother country. No one is black or white.

The Indian and the Korean actors are expected to make themselves white. They put their lives in danger by trying to change the colour of their skin. I can name but a few African actors, TV presenters and ordinary folks who are so handsome, racist people can only be jealous of them.

I cried watching ROOTS and watched this film more than three times. How can a human being torture another being as they did? Great acting.

Joe Bloggs 1 year ago

I’m from the UK and I don’t give a shit what colour you are. You are a man with as much right to exist as anyone else in this world. Your colour doesn’t matter.

Paul Harding – 1 year ago

History? America has not reconciled with or got over its brutal racist past as it’s still living it with pride and contempt. Apology? I would never expect an apology from people who seem more traumatised and victimized by conversations about race than people who have suffered it.

Marcelo Rosa 10 months ago

I’m from Brazil and this tv series had a huge impact here all the people were talking about it at school, at work at restaurants, everywhere.

Rgia50 5 years ago

I think we watched ROOTS because we were excited that a Black Man from the USA was able to trace and find some family members in Africa. This gave us hope that we too could find our Black family in Africa.

Simon Hartley 2 years ago

I’m 50 this year, I remember Roots like it was yesterday. Ironically, there is more slavery on our planet now than at any part of our known history. I think the message of Roots is needed more now than ever. We must learn to love through our differences and celebrate our existence. Every day is a gift.

sthembino Motaung 1 year ago

I’m happy to announce that I’m the 6 (six) generation from my father’s side. I have compiled a family tree after being inspired by this film, thank you dr Haley for leading that dream. My upcoming generations can have this family tree with pride and dignity to cherish

My Personal Opinion On Kunta Kinte Struggle

I can’t bring myself to watch a movie on slavery twice. I cry all through for the pain a human has to go through in the hands of another. It is a sad tale that I do not want to recollect.

The other day, I watch a movie title Invasion on how the British soldiers massacre the people of the Edo Kingdom. All for what? For there rubber.

Now and again, some whites still feel superior and they reduce the black nation to a derogatory state. The most saddened part is the fact that some blacks are so blind to see this.

They are always the ones on the front line to shoot their people. For fame and wealth, some black men lost their sense of humanity.

If there is one thing you should take home on the movie roots, it is the belief that we are all humans first.


Kunta Kinte is the story of an African boy who was kidnapped from his village in Juffureh. He was sold into slavery and forced to accept a foreign name.

Kinte never forgot his identity and motherland. Although he never saw his home, his story has inspired a change 300 years after his death.

Remember that we are all humans: Born and one day will die. Be the best human you can be to the next black/white.

This continuous history of some whites sabotaging the black race will only create more death.

Be human first.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

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