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The collection consists of seven manuscripts. Some manuscripts are written in Mandinka Ajami, while others are bilingual (Arabic and Mandinka). The manuscripts deal with divination, means of identifying and addressing people's concerns using names of God, Prophets, and other supernatural beings, cleansing oneself after sexual intercourse following Islamic recommendations, and poetry.

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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  • Koleyaalu Jaaraŋo I: Solutions to Problems I 

    Cisse, Karang Alphousseyni
    The manuscript is a photocopy of a part of a bilingual manual dealing with techniques to solve people's problems using what Mandinka scholars call: Ismoo (Arabic: name). The word refers to the use of names of God, Prophets, ...
  • Images of Imam Moustapha Cisse and the community of Kandialang (Ziguinchor) 

    Ngom, Ibrahima (2018-06-01)
    Images of manuscript owner Imam Moustapha Cisse and the community of Kandialang, Ziguinchor, Senegal, for the manuscript digitization work done in July 2018.
  • Koleyaalu Jaaraŋo III: Solutions to Problems III 

    Cisse, Karang Alphousseyni
    Contains several ephemeral documents dealing with different subjects. These subjects include protection from Satan, increasing one’s chances of becoming wealthy, ending a dispute, happily resolving legal cases, and silencing ...
  • Ramuloo II: Divination II 

    Cisse, Karang Alphousseyni
    The manuscript is a copy. It deals with divination techniques, which include interpretations of sixteen signs to identify people’s problems and provide appropriate solutions. Each of the sixteen signs corresponds to a name ...
  • Seneyandiraŋ Kitaaboo: Book of Purification 

    al-Sanūsī, Muḥammad; Cisse, Karang Alphousseyni
    The document is inspired by an original Arabic text by Muḥammad al-Sanūsī dealing with Islamic rituals, including ways to cleanse oneself after intercourse and ablutions. The original Arabic document was translated in ...
  • Ramuloo I Divination I 

    Cisse, Seckou
    The manuscript is a copy. It deals with divination techniques used to identify people's problems and to find approprite solutions. The techniques in the document are also used to predict people's future, by anticipating ...
  • Koleyaalu Jaaraŋo II: Solutions to Problems II 

    Cisse, Karang Alphousseyni
    The manuscript is a copy of a synthesis of divination and diagnosis techniques used to identify the roots of people's concerns and ways to address them. According to the owner, the original which was written in the 19th ...
  • Teeroo I Tuloo Loo: My Friend, Listen! 

    Cisse, Karang Alphousseyni
    The manuscript includes two poems. The first is written in Mandinka Ajami and deals with religious ethics. The second one, which is written in Arabic, is incomplete. It praises God and urges the faithful to prepare for ...
  • Ramuloo III: Divination III 

    Cisse, Karang Alphousseyni
    Contains two manuscripts that deal with divination. The first is in Mandinka and the second in Arabic. Both manuscripts deal with divination techniques, which include interpretations of sixteen signs to identify people’s ...