66. Timbuktu/ Mali – Hort des Wissens

… Some scholars believe there are up to one million manuscripts in Mali, about 100,000 of which are in the Timbuktu region. These texts — possibly the most ancient to survive in sub-Saharan Africa — offer a window into the ways black Muslim scholars thought and imagined the world around them over centuries. Sean O’Fahey, a professor of Islamic African history at the University of Bergen, in Norway, who has worked extensively with European aid agencies across Africa, said that part of the problem in Mali, unlike such other African countries as the Sudan, is that most of the people who own these manuscripts cannot read them because they do not know Arabic. „So what you’ve got in Mali,“ he explained, „is a kind of break in the intellectual heritage.“ / NYT*) 24.4.04

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