In West Africa, there was no written language. Everything had to be memorized. That is one main reason that griots were important. Griots were West African storytellers who had to memorize the heritage of the clan and recite the history with no mistake. Griots were known for their excellent memory and many times a griot would put on plays and gather everybody around to tell stories of the clan and how it progressed. 
    Griots were important to West Africa in many ways. Mansa Musa, a great ruler of the Mali Empire, took hundreds of griots with him to record his journey with his scholars. But griots were only popular in West Africa so Ghana, Mali, and Songhai all had griots to preserve their heritage. Griots still exist today in West Africa.
 





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