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Alphousseyni Diante's collection is rich with endangered bilingual manuscripts written in prose and poetry. The manuscripts deal with a variety of subjects. They are written in classical Arabic with glosses in Soninke and Mandinka Ajami.

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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  • Jante la Kandoolu Kitaaboolu IV: Diante’s Bilingual Collection IV 

    Diante, Alphousseyni (Grandfather); Bamba Mbacke, Cheikh Ahmadou
    Contains numerous manuscripts written by different hands on a variety of papers. It includes prose and poetry from various Muslim scholars. The manuscripts are written in classical Arabic with glosses in Arabic and Soninke ...
  • Muusaa la Taarikoo aniŋ Suukuwoo: The Story of Moses and Religious Poetry 

    Diante, Alphousseyni (Grandfather); Faty, Arfang Bakary
    Contains two old manuscripts written in classical Arabic. The first one is a prose text with Ajami glosses. The themes discussed in it include the story of Moses and his conversations with God. The second manuscript is a ...
  • Images of manuscript owner Alphousseyni Diante 

    Ngom, Ibrahima (2018-07-04)
    Images of manuscript owner Alphousseyni Diante in Kontecounda, Kolda, Senegal, for the manuscript digitization work done in July 2018.
  • Kalifa la Mawluudoo: Celebrating Prophet Muḥammad's Birthday 

    Kalifa, Mouhamadou
    The manuscript is a photocopy of a poem that the owner calls Kalifa la Mawluudoo. It is a hagiographic poem that recounts the story of Prophet Muḥammad, beginning before his birth and ending after his death. It is chanted ...
  • Biniiboo: Celebrating Prophet Muḥammad (Soninke) 

    Diante, Alphousseyni (Grandfather)
    The manuscript is written in classical Arabic with extensive glosses in Soninke Ajami. It is inspired from the poem Al-Burda (The Mantle) authored by the thirteenth-century Egyptian Sufī, Al-Busīrī. The manuscript praises ...
  • Jante la Kandoolu Kitaaboolu III: Diante’s Bilingual Collection III 

    Diante, Alphousseyni (Grandfather)
    Contains a collection of various manuscripts, written by different hands on a variety of papers. The texts include prose and poetry. They are written in classical Arabic and include extensive Arabic and Soninke Ajami ...
  • Fulakaŋ Suukuwoo: Fula Ajami Poetry 

    Sadiq, Tijani
    The manuscript is a panegyric poem that praises Prophet Muḥammad in the Fula language. The owner acquired the manuscript during his research in Casamance. Mandinka scholars like the owner cross ethnic and linguistic ...
  • Biniiboo: Celebrating Prophet Muḥammad (Mandinka) 

    Diante, Alphousseyni (Grandfather)
    The manuscript is a recent copy of a panegyric poem (Mandinka: Biniiboo). It praises Prophet Muḥammad. It is written in classical Arabic with extensive glosses in Arabic and Mandinka Ajami.
  • Duwaaraŋ Kummaayariŋo: A Special Prayer 

    Diante, Alphousseyni (Grandfather)
    The beginning of the manuscript is written in classical Arabic and the rest is written in a special incantatory language that serves for protection. Only the incantatory language is vocalized with red ink.
  • Alkuraan Fasaroo: The Quran with Glosses 

    Diante, Alphousseyni (Grandfather)
    An old copy of the Quran, which has numerous glosses in Arabic and Soninke. It was written during the time when Soninke was the language of many Islamic scholars and educators in Casamance. Mandinka scholars, who were ...

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