Beyond African orality: digital preservation of Mandinka ʿAjamī archives of Casamance
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Citation (published version)Fallou Ngom, Eleni Castro. 2019. "Beyond African orality: Digital preservation of Mandinka ʿAjamī archives of Casamance." History Compass, https://doi.org/10.1111/hic3.12584
This article focuses on the digital preservation of African sources written in Mandinka ʿAjamī, i.e. the enriched form of the Arabic script used to write the Mandinka language for centuries. ʿAjamī writing has been utilized to document intellectual traditions, histories, belief systems, and cultures of non-Arab Muslims around the world. ʿAjamī texts have played critical roles in the spread of Islam in Africa and continue to be used for both religious and non-religious writings. However, African ʿAjamī texts such as those of the Mandinka people of Casamance in southern Senegal are not well known beyond local communities. ʿAjamī texts in Mandinka and other Mande languages are among the least documented. Only a few Mande ʿAjamī texts are available to scholars. Thanks to the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP), Africa’s rich written heritage in ʿAjamī and other scripts previously unavailable to academics is being preserved and made universally accessible.