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The collection contains several manuscripts. These include a Mandinka Ajami poem by one of the most famous Mandinka Ajami poets (Arfang Sitokoto Dabo), an Arabic panegyric poem celebrating the life and work of Prophet Muhammad, and a bilingual Arabic-Mandinka Ajami text dealing with treatments for some common illnesses.

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

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  • Suukuwo: Mandinka Ajami Poetry 

    Dabo, Sitokoto
    The manuscript is a copy of the original written in Mandinka Ajami by Arfang Boubacar Dabo, also known as Arfang Sitokoto Dabo. Sitokoto Dabo is the most famous Mandinka Ajami poet in Senegambia. His poems are widely known ...
  • Biniiboo aniŋ Booroo: Panegyric Poetry and Medicinal Text 

    Cisse, Kalifa; Diadji, Alpha
    Consists of two manuscripts. The first is an Arabic panegyric poem celebrating the life and work of Prophet Muḥammad, which contains numerous Arabic glosses. The original author is Alpha Diadji, a famous Mandinka scholar. ...
  • Images of manuscript owner Arfang Cisse (right) and Mosque in Diattircounda 

    Ngom, Ibrahima (2018-07-22)
    Images of manuscript owner Arfang Cisse (right), Ibrahima Yaffa (left), and Mosque in Diattircounda, Kolda, Senegal. Taken during the manuscript digitization work done in July 2018.