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The collection consists of four manuscripts. The first two Ajami manuscripts deal with divination techniques, which are very popular among Mandinka scholars. The third is a famous Mandinka Ajami poem, and the fourth is a typed Arabic document dealing with the biography of a prominent Mandinka religious leader from the Gambia.

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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  • Biography of Al-hadji Aliou Kante 

    Kante, Aliou
    The document is a biography of Al-hadji Aliou Kante, a Mandinka scholar from Kombo-Sifo in The Gambia. It documents his life, education, and experience with prominent religious scholars he encountered in his lifetime, ...
  • Images of Youssouph Demba in Kabadio (Ziguinchor) 

    Ngom, Ibrahima (2018-05-08)
    Images of manuscript owner Youssouph Demba in Kabadio, Ziguinchor, Senegal, for the manuscript digitization work done in April and May 2018.
  • Keñe Ramuloo: Divination on Sand 

    Unknown author
    The manuscript deals with divination techniques using sand. This form of divination is part of Khatt al-Raml in Arabic, which is very old and popular in Mandinka communities. The techniques include interpretations of sixteen ...
  • Jajimo Ramuloo: Divination on Paper 

    Unknown author
    The manuscript deals with divination techniques using a sheet of paper. This method of divination is part of Khatt al-Raml in Arabic, which is a very old and popular tradition in Mandinka communities. The divination ...
  • Kitaaboo Foloota: The Book Began 

    Unknown author
    The document is a Mandinka Ajami poem titled Kitaaboo Foloota (English: The Book Began), which alludes to the beginning of the Quran. This poem praises God and Prophet Muḥammad and teaches tawḥid (English: oneness of God). ...