Share to FacebookShare to TwitterShare by Email

Led by Professor Fallou Ngom, the project initially focused on preserving endangered Mandinka Ajami manuscripts of the southern Casamance region of Senegal. However, our fieldwork team found on the ground when the project began that the endangered manuscripts were richer than initially anticipated. They encompass four major types: 1) Arabic texts; 2) Arabic texts with glosses in Arabic; 3) Arabic texts with glosses in Arabic and local languages (Soninke and Mandinka); and 4) Mandinka Ajami texts. Because all the manuscripts are equally important and document the preoccupations and intellectual traditions of the Mandinka people of Senegambia and beyond, we expanded the project beyond its original focus on Mandinka Ajami texts to include Arabic and bilingual (Arabic and Mandinka or Soninke) manuscripts we were allowed to digitize.

This is a joint project between Boston University and the West African Research Center (WARC), funded by the British Library/Arcadia Endangered Archives Programme. Support for this project was provided by the BU College of Arts & Sciences (Dean Ann E. Cudd and Associate Dean Nancy Ammerman), the Department of Anthropology, and Boston University Libraries. Fieldwork Team: Professor Fallou Ngom (Principal Investigator; former Director of the African Studies Center), Ablaye Diakité (Local Project Manager), Mr. Ibrahima Yaffa (General Field Facilitator), and Ibrahima Ngom (photographer). Technical Team: Professor Fallou Ngom and Eleni Castro (Technical Lead, BU Libraries). This collection of Mandinka Ajami materials is copied as part of the African Studies Center’s African Ajami Library. Access Condition and Copyright: These materials are subject to copyright and are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are fully cited using the information below. For use, distribution or reproduction beyond these terms, contact Professor Fallou Ngom ( Required Citation: Materials in this web edition should be cited as: Ngom, Fallou, Castro, Eleni, & Diakité, Ablaye. (2018). African Ajami Library: EAP 1042. Digital Preservation of Mandinka Ajami Materials of Casamance, Senegal. Boston: Boston University Libraries: For Inquiries: please contact Professor Fallou Ngom ( For technical assistance, please contact

Sub-communities within this community

Collections in this community

Recently Added

  • Mandinkakaŋ Leetaroolu: Letters in Mandinka 

    Unknown author
    The collection contains short notes and letters written by family members in Mandinka Ajami. The first letter is sent from Guinea-Bissau by Sire Mbaa Daffe, who is the aunt of the owner, to greet him and to request that ...
  • Al-Shanfarī al-Azdī 

    Thiam, Kelountang
    The manuscript is a poem dealing with the story of an outlaw man called Al-Shanfarā al-Azdī who lived in the 6th century during the pre-Islamic era. The man decided to avenge the killing of his father. He lived for awhile ...
  • Koleyaalu Jaaraŋo I: Solutions to Problems I 

    Cisse, Karang Alphousseyni
    The manuscript is a photocopy of a part of a bilingual manual dealing with techniques to solve people's problems using what Mandinka scholars call: Ismoo (Arabic: name). The word refers to the use of names of God, Prophets, ...
  • Biography of Al-hadji Aliou Kante 

    Kante, Aliou
    The document is a biography of Al-hadji Aliou Kante, a Mandinka scholar from Kombo-Sifo in The Gambia. It documents his life, education, and experience with prominent religious scholars he encountered in his lifetime, ...
  • Banāt Su‛ād 

    Thiam, Kelountang; ibn Zuhayr, Ka'b
    The manuscript is a copy of an ancient Arabic poem by Ka'b ibn Zuhayr, a famous Arab poet who was initially critical of Prophet Muḥammad. His criticisms had put him in grave danger of losing his life. He finally repented ...
  • Araabukaŋ Suukuwo aniŋ Mandinkakaŋo: Arabic poetry with Mandinka Glosses 

    bin Nasser, Abdullah
    The poem was originally written by an Arab poet called 'Abdullah bin Nasser. In the poem, the poet gave tribute to his teacher, named 'Abdullah bin Tāhir. The poet also talks about death and the afterlife and praises God. ...
  • Kombo Niŋ Kaabu Tariikoo: Kombo and Kaabu History 

    Diabang, Nouha
    The manuscript provides the origin of the different Mandinka family names and the migrations of the Mandinka people of Kaabu in Guinea-Bissau to southwestern Gambia, which resulted in the Kombo Mandinka communities. The ...
  • Dāliyyat al-Yūsī 

    ibn Mas‘ūd al-Yūsī, Abū Alī al-Ḥasan
    The Arabic manuscript is a copy of a poem dealing with the life of Prophet Muḥammad and Sufism. It includes extensive glosses in Arabic and Soninke Ajami. It is a copy of an Arabic poem by the 17th-century Moroccan Sufi ...
  • Banāt Su‛ād 

    bin Zuhayr, Ka'b
    The manuscript is a copy of an ancient Arabic poem by Ka'b bin Zuhayr, a famous Arab poet who was initially one of the fiercest critics of Prophet Muḥammad. His criticisms had put him in danger of losing his life. He finally ...
  • Berekoloŋ Keloo: The Berekoloŋ War 

    Diebate, Arfang Karamo
    The manuscript deals with the war between the pre-colonial kingdoms of Kaabu and Fuuta Jalon called Berekoloŋ Keloo in Mandinka. The manuscript goes back to the time when the Fulani of Fuuta Jalon invaded and occupied ...

View more