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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/37293

Issa Diante’s archives consist of nine collections, including seven bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami collections, one bilingual Arabic-Wolof collection, and one collection of classical Arabic texts. The materials deal with an array of religious and non-religious subjects. The documents reflect the dual literacy tradition in Arabic and Ajami that is common among scholars in Muslim Africa. Classical Arabic knowledge alone is not sufficient to make sense of many of the documents in their collections. Dual literacy in classical Arabic and the local Ajami tradition is necessary in order to decipher the contents of many of the documents in these archives.

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 (fngom@bu.edu). 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: 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.

Collections in this community

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  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu I: Collection of Bilingual Texts I 

    Diante, Issa
    Contains a bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami collection of numerous documents, including personal correspondences, healing and divination techniques, recipes to address multiple local preoccupations using figures and formulas ...
  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu IV: Collection of Bilingual Texts IV 

    Diante, Issa; Diante, Alphousseyni
    Contains a bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami collection of numerous documents, including texts dealing with the importance of nurturing good relationships between human beings, community members, ethnic groups, and races. ...
  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu IX: Collection of Bilingual Texts IX 

    Unknown author
    Contains a collection of poems and other documents in classical Arabic dealing with Islamic topics. Some of the documents, which are written on small pieces of paper, include Arabic glosses. Red ink is used in one of the ...
  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu VII: Collection of Bilingual Texts VII 

    Diante, Mamadou Lamine; Diante, Issa
    Contains a bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami collection of numerous documents, including formulas and receipts for various social preoccupations (including helping women with infertility problems), special prayers for ...
  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu V: Collection of Bilingual Texts V 

    Diante, Issa
    Contains a bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami collection of numerous documents, including a poem, personal correspondences, personal notes and contacts, divination techniques, and a text discussing the holiday at the end of ...
  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu VIII: Collection of Bilingual Texts VIII 

    Unknown author
    Contains a bilingual Arabic-Wolof Ajami collection, which highlights the multilingualism and multiliteracy of the owner, Issa Diante. Diante is a Mandinka native speaker, who is fluent in Wolof. He reads and writes classical ...
  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu II: Collection of Bilingual Texts II 

    Diante, Issa
    Contains a bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami collection of numerous documents, including two originally translated from Arabic into Mandinka Ajami to help local readers understand their contents in their own language. The ...
  • Images of Issa Diante and community of Sare Pathe-Bailo 

    Ngom, Ibrahima (2018-07-20)
    Images taken of manuscript owner Imam Issa Diante and his community of Sare Pathe-Bailo, Kolda, Senegal, for the manuscript digitization work done in July 2018.
  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu VI: Collection of Bilingual Texts VI 

    Diante, Issa
    Contains a bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami collection of numerous documents, including how to wash the bodies of deceased people following Islamic rituals, prayers and sermons, personal notes and contacts, divination ...
  • Kandoolu Kitaaboolu III: Collection of Bilingual Texts III 

    Diante, Issa; Diante, Alphousseyni
    Contains a bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami collection of two documents: an incantation genre called Saalaalo in Mandinka, and a bilingual text dealing with marriage. The materials reflect the dual literacy tradition in ...