Welcome to our website

25 November 2010

Over the past few years I have been part of an initiative to bring more attention to the written heritage of Timbuktu. The major achievement of this initiative was the new library-archive facility in Timbuktu built by South Africa in collaboration with the government of Mali that was completed in 2009 and recently started its operations. Our project at the University of Cape Town is focussed on cultivating a network of Africa-based researchers on the manuscripts of Timbuktu and all the other manifestations of manuscript traditions on the continent. 

Shamil Jeppie gives a guided tour of the 'Script & Scholarship', Exhibition, Iziko Castle of Good Hope, August 2008. Shamil Jeppie gives a guided tour of the 'Script & Scholarship', Exhibition, Iziko Castle of Good Hope, August 2008.

This website will be a major means of communication between us in South Africa and our colleagues elsewhere on the continent, and at universities throughout the world.  We look forward to keeping this web initiatve lively and filled with resources and news about the various aspects of the study of archives, libraries and manuscripts on the continent.

Through this initiative we shall strive to make available research materials relevant to the study of Africa’s history of manuscript production, a selection of primary sources and manuscripts (or extracts of them) as we get permission to release such sources, updates on relevant forthcoming events, and related news.  We hope to breakdown some linguistic divisions and therefore will make every effort to keep our French and Arabic sections as fresh and updated as the English section.

— Shamil Jeppie

  • Comments: 0


  1. Burkhard Bilger’s avatar
    Burkhard Bilger 08/02/2011 #


    I’m a staff writer at the New Yorker magazine hoping to make a trip to Timbuktu to see the library and its collections. Could you tell me the best way to go about this? I’ve been told that northern Mali can be hazardous for travelers, and that the library can be a difficult place to gain access to. I’d appreciate any advice or contact information that you can give me.

    Burkhard Bilger
    The New Yorker

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