Malachi Kirby perfored the lead role of Kunta Kinte in the revised “Roots” series. Kunta was a Moor of the Mandinka Tribe and warrior was captured in his homeland of the Sene-Gambia and forced into slavery in colonial America. The Mandingo, Mande or the Wangaa including the Soninke (Sarakole) are Arab tribes with many branches See The Unknown Arabs by Tariq Berry. Kunta Kinte was one of 98 slaves brought to Annapolis, Maryland aboard the ship Lord Ligonier in 1767, and despite many years in bondage, he never lost his connection to his Moorish heritage.
Part of the Original Mali Empire, the Mandinka gained their independence from previous empires in the thirteenth century, and founded an empire which stretched across West Africa. They migrated west from the Niger River basin in search of better agricultural lands and more opportunities for conquest. During this expansion, they established their rule from modern day The Gambia to Guinea (Conakry). Here they founded the empire of Kaabu, comprised of 20 small kingdoms.
TV Alex Haley arrived in Juffureh in 1967 hoping to learn more about the Kinte clan and his famous descendant. He was directed to the griot Kebba Kanji Fofana who was supposed to possess a deep oral history of the Kinte family lineage going back generations. Fofana recited the family’s lineage which seemed to match Haley’s own family’s stories and he emerged from his trip to Juffureh greatly moved. So began his work which lasted over a decade on the Roots saga. Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Anika Noni Rose have also been added to the cast.
Casting descriptions are below. They join Laurence Fishburne, who had already been cast as Haley.“ Roots” will air in 2016 and be simulcast on A&E, Lifetime and History. In his writings, author Alex Haley, depicts the scene so vividly that one can imagine being in the very spot on that eventful day. One seems a part of the history of an African Moor family whose distinguished lineage is being recited as far back as two hundred years, as the Arafan (the village Griot) lists the names of the Maurentanian forefathers of whom Kunta’s Grandfather and namesake Kairaba Kunta Kinte, had often told himself. The names were great and many for the Mandinka tribes’s holy man.
And this distinguished lineage and the oral history continue today through their descendants of the present, the author himself, his brother George, former state senator from Kansas and their youngest brother, Julius. See More About Kunta Kinte Today 95% of Mandinkas are Muslims. Most Mandinkas live in family-related compounds in traditional rural villages. Mandinka villages are fairly autonomous and self-ruled, being led by a chief and group of elders.