Historical Role of the Jali

Historically, the Jali was the repository of his nation’s history, constitution and genealogies. Through committing such vast knowledge to memory and passing this knowledge onto their heirs, Jalolu were the most intimate aids of the families of royal lineage. Every king, historically, had a Jali through whom he would communicate with others.

The Jali would be at his king’s side at all times, during any and every event in order to commit to memory the occurrences. Even when kings of ancient West African Empires went into battle, their Jali would be by their side, recounting the valor of the king’s ancestors to spur him on and encouraging him to rise to the accomplishments of those who lived before him.

The Jali also served the king as an emissary or representative, often visiting other nations. The Jali was also a mediator of disputes arising between nations, states, cities and even families and individuals.

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