7th Grade History Ancient Africa
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7th Grade History  Ancient Africa
Mansa Musa, silent bater, mali,Ghana,gold and salt,
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Scientists worry about safety of literary gems in Timbuktu - The Star | IOL.co.za

Scientists worry about safety of literary gems in Timbuktu - The Star | IOL.co.za | 7th Grade History  Ancient Africa | Scoop.it

The ancient African manuscripts of Timbuktu seem to have survived the capture of the city at the weekend by Tuareg and other rebels trying to topple the new military government of Mali.

Rantobeng Mokou, SA’s ambassador to Mali, said last night he had spoken to people in Timbuktu who told him the rebels had stolen cars, money and other goods from the SA-sponsored library holding many of the manuscripts.

But he said they told him the manuscripts themselves had not been damaged so far. There are about 300 000 manuscripts, most written in Arabic script and some dating back to the 14th century, in Timbuktu on the fringes of the Sahara.

For the past decade, the SA government has been contributing to the international effort to preserve, store and catalogue the manuscripts.


Via Charles Tiayon
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Mali's ancient treasures are too valuable to be buried again

Mali's ancient treasures are too valuable to be buried again | 7th Grade History  Ancient Africa | Scoop.it

Michael Mumisa: The ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu are a door into Africa's golden age. We must not let this crisis threaten their survival...

 

Most of the manuscripts predate the arrival of Europeans on the African continent and are in classical Arabic, which at that time was to west Africa what Latin was to Europe, the lingua franca of the educated elite. This is significant because western philosophers such as David Hume in a footnote to his 1748 essay Of National Characters and Immanuel Kant in Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, published in 1764, had tried to argue that black people were inferior to white people because they possessed no literary culture and that their history was transmitted only through oral means. Even modern scholars obsessed with the need to substantiate Milman Parry's assertion in the first half of the 20th century that Homer's Iliad and Odyssey were oral compositions try to do so by looking for examples of "improvised oral composition" from so-called "illiterate oral cultures" in Africa and other regions. Thanks to the rediscovery of ancient African manuscripts in Mali, Ghana, Nigeria and some parts of Africa we can now prove that African societies indeed had thriving literary cultures that enabled them to transmit their histories through both written and oral mnemonic systems.

 

At about the same time that the oldest universities in the English-speaking world, Oxford and Cambridge, were established, Timbuktu was a thriving intellectual city of more than 20,000 scholars, a "university" or two, and hundreds of libraries. Timbuktu represents one of the "golden ages" in Africa's history. Its surviving manuscripts are our door into that golden past. Leo Africanus (also known as al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan) visited Timbuktu at the beginning of the 16th century and wrote about its abundant gold wealth and many libraries in his famous bookDescription of Africa. The book was originally written in Arabic and it was Pope Leo X who commissioned the Italian version. It immediately became a bestseller in Europe – some think it was a 17th-century translation of this book that may have inspired Shakespeare's construction of Othello.


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joseph mora's curator insight, November 5, 2013 2:24 PM

"the invasion of Timbuktu by marauding Moroccan armies who deported and killed its scholars and destroyed some of its libraries in 1591 brought Timbuktu's golden age to an abrupt end. Surviving scholars and residents managed to hide some of the city's precious manuscripts in cow or goat skins underground. They were then passed on within families from one generation to another. When Mali came under French colonial rule the manuscripts were presented with yet another threat. It was only decades after Mali's independence in 1960 that some families in Timbuktu began to allow outsiders access to their treasured manuscripts." (Michael Mumisa)

matina's curator insight, January 26, 2014 5:30 AM

Africa Mali manuscripts value

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Scientists worry about safety of literary gems in Timbuktu - The Star | IOL.co.za

Scientists worry about safety of literary gems in Timbuktu - The Star | IOL.co.za | 7th Grade History  Ancient Africa | Scoop.it

The ancient African manuscripts of Timbuktu seem to have survived the capture of the city at the weekend by Tuareg and other rebels trying to topple the new military government of Mali.

Rantobeng Mokou, SA’s ambassador to Mali, said last night he had spoken to people in Timbuktu who told him the rebels had stolen cars, money and other goods from the SA-sponsored library holding many of the manuscripts.

But he said they told him the manuscripts themselves had not been damaged so far. There are about 300 000 manuscripts, most written in Arabic script and some dating back to the 14th century, in Timbuktu on the fringes of the Sahara.

For the past decade, the SA government has been contributing to the international effort to preserve, store and catalogue the manuscripts.


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Timbuktu’s Ancient Libraries: Saved by Locals, Endangered by a Government | TIME.com

Timbuktu’s Ancient Libraries: Saved by Locals, Endangered by a Government | TIME.com | 7th Grade History  Ancient Africa | Scoop.it

One week after Islamic militants fled Timbuktu under French bombing strikes, preservationists are deeply uncertain about how to continue protecting the city’s priceless ancient documents — a conundrum that cuts to the heart of how treasures are safeguarded through political upheaval in places where locals have little trust in government.

 

When French and African forces rumbled into northern Mali’s ancient capital 10 days ago, Timbuktu’s mayor, who had little direct information, told journalists erroneously that the jihadists had destroyed “all the important documents” and that Malians needed to “kill all the rebels.”

 

In fact, Timbuktu’s residents and preservationists had told TIME early last year that they had rescued tens of thousands of manuscripts before the militants seized northern Mali. They agreed to talk on the condition that TIME kept their secret until the jihadists had been defeated. The operation was conducted by Timbuktu’s old families, which have looked after the city’s 300,000 or so ancient documents for centuries.

 


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David Connolly's curator insight, February 5, 2013 2:35 AM

Ah...   strange how this time it was the people who preserved and the larger organisations who nearly brought about the loss.