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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Manuscript tradition in Africa: the Arabic and Ajami manuscripts at the Institute of African Studies
Author:Moumouni, SeyniISNI
Periodical:Research Review (ISSN 0855-4412)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:West Africa
inventories (form)
History, Archaeology
Manuscripts, Arabic
University of Ghana. Institute of African Studies
Abstract:The survival of Islam in Africa depended on the teaching of the sacred writing in Arabic. The consequence was the intervention of another form of writing, known as Ajami, a system of transcription of local languages by adopting the Arabic letters. Like Latin in Europe, Arabic was used in Africa to communicate science and art. In the 16th century, Timbuktu (Mali) was one of the important religious and intellectual centres, where many manuscripts were collected. This paper first examines historiographical work on these manuscripts, which started at the end of the 19th century. From 1960 onward, this work became systematic. Then the paper discusses the Arabic and Ajami collections at the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana in Legon, paying attention to disciplines covered by the manuscripts, and their cataloguing and conservation. The collections, which were assembled during the 1950s and 1960s, come from Ghana, Togo, Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso and are relevant for the study of history and Islamic scholarship in West Africa. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French. [ASC Leiden abstract]