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The Ahmed Baba Institute and UNESCO Appeal for Assistance in Helping to Preserve the Timbuktu Manuscripts

The Meanings of Timbuktu“A treasure trove of priceless ancient African scholarship on science, agriculture, astronomy, poetry, Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy and mysticism, dating back to the 14th and 17th centuries, may disappear in less than a year unless money is found to restore, preserve and digitise them,” reports the Mail & Guardian on the Timbuktu manuscripts.

The manuscripts, of which there are estimated to be over 300 000, were saved by Abdel Kader Haïdara, a librarian who managed to smuggle them out of the library with the help of his team, after jihadists took control of Timbuktu in Mali and torched the library.

Mail & Guardian report that The Ahmed Baba Institute and UNESCO are appealing for urgent assistance from the international community to fund a proper shelter for the manuscripts, which are being kept in private homes and are starting to degrade. The Institute is associated with the Timbuktu Manuscript Project, which is directed by Shamil Jeppie, co-author of The Meanings of Timbuktu.

The recent violence and upheaval in Mali has not only caused death, destruction and human suffering on a major scale; they have also exacted a terrible price on one of its most unique cultural heritages.

A treasure trove of priceless ancient African scholarship on science, agriculture, astronomy, poetry, Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy and mysticism, dating back to the 14th and 17th centuries, may disappear in less than a year unless money is found to restore, preserve and digitise them.

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