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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/27112

For centuries, Ajami, the modified Arabic scripts used in writing African languages, have been deeply embedded in the history and culture of many Islamized societies of Africa. Ajami has played an important role in the spread of Islam in Africa and continues to be used by the speakers of more than ten major African languages for everything from poetry and historical writing to road signs and advertisements. Nevertheless, Ajami is little known outside the communities where it is used. Many of the oldest Ajami manuscripts are in danger, and few of those with a scholarly interest in these materials have access to them. The Mandinka Ajami manuscripts to be digitized in this project are precious. Ajami texts in Mande languages (including Bamanankan, Eastern Maninka, Western Mandinka (or Mandinka), Jakhanke, Jula, and Susu) are among the least documented. Only a few Mandinka Ajami texts are available to scholars compared to the rich collections of Hausa, Fulfulde, and Wolof Ajami texts recently made available to scholars thanks to the support of the British Library/Arcadia Endangered Archives Programme. This project will enable scholars to have access to thousands of pages of Mandinka Ajami texts largely unknown to Western-trained academics. The manuscripts deal with astrology, divination, Islamic education, talismanic protective devices, religious and didactic materials in poetry and prose, elegies, jurisprudence, traditions of Prophet Muhammad, Sufism, code of ethics, translations of the Quran and Islamic liturgical texts from Arabic into Mandinka, legends about Mandinka jihad leaders and mythical figures, secular writings such as commercial record-keeping, family genealogies, records of important local events such as the founding of villages, births, deaths, weddings, biographies, traditional treatment of illnesses, medicinal plants, environmental subjects, incantations, local history, local cosmology, customs and ancestral traditions, and Mandinka social institutions.

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 is also being provided from the BU College of Arts & Sciences (Dean Ann E. Cudd and Associate Dean Nancy Ammerman), the Department of Anthropology, and BU Libraries. Fieldwork Team: Dr. Fallou Ngom (Pricipal Investigator; Director, African Studies Center), Ablaye Diakité (Local Project Manager), Mr. Ibrahima Yaffa (General Field Facilitator), and Ibrahima Ngom (photographer). Technical Team: Dr. Fallou Ngom (Principal Investigator; Director, African Studies Center), 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 credited. For use, distribution or reproduction beyond these terms, contact Professor Fallou Ngom (fngom@bu.edu). Citation: Materials in this web edition may be cited as: Ngom, F., Castro, E., & Diakité, A. (2018). African Ajami Library: EAP 1042. Digital Preservation of Mandinka Ajami Materials of Casamance, Senegal. Boston: Boston University Libraries: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/27112. For Inquiries: please contact Professor Fallou Ngom (fngom@bu.edu). For technical assistance, please contact open-help@bu.edu.

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