The Rush to Save Timbuktu’s Crumbling Manuscripts


General Culture

It’s just a coincidence that I came across the following article today (while being engaged in presenting photography from Africa), but a very pleasant one. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that most Western people probably think of Africa as the place with lots of wild animals, starving people, and plenty of corrupt governments and nothing else. Africa’s rich cultural heritage is mostly unknown: “Fabled Timbuktu, once the site of the world’s southernmost Islamic university, harbors thousands upon thousands of long-forgotten manuscripts. A dozen academic instutions [sic!] from around the world are now working frantically to save and evaluate the crumbling documents. […] Most of the works stem from the late Middle Ages, when Timbuktu was an important crossroads for caravans. It was home to gold merchants and scholars, and it even boasted a university with 20,000 students.” (story)