Saarah Jappie, Susana Molins Lliteras and Shamil Jeppie in Timbuktu Saarah Jappie, Susana Molins Lliteras and Shamil Jeppie in Timbuktu

Shamil Jeppie is the director of the project. He received his PhD from Princeton University and is currently Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town. He has worked on aspects of the social history of Cape Town and Durban, South Africa as well as 19th-century Sudan. He founded this research project wherein he is exploring the formation of a culture of collecting in Timbuktu. He is also the director of the Institute of Humanities in Africa (HUMA) and a member of the Scientific Committee of CODESRIA. He serves on various platforms concerned with the development of the humanities, history and heritage in Africa and the global South.

Susana Molins Lliteras is a post-doctoral fellow in Historical Studies at UCT. She holds a PhD in Historical Studies from the same institution, for a dissertation entitled “‘Africa starts in the Pyrenees:’ The Fondo Kati, between al-Andalus and Timbuktu,” which presents a biography the Fondo Kati archive, a private family manuscript collection in Timbuktu and its links with al-Andalus.  She also obtained an MPhil in African Studies from UCT, for research on the West African Tijaniyya tariqa’s presence in Cape Town.  In 2005, she joined the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project, and has been an integral part of the Project's events and output.

Hassen Muhammed Kawo received a Bachelor of Education in Arabic language from the College of Education of Zanzibar, Tanzania and also holds a Master of Arts in Arabic Philology from Addis Ababa University.  He became affiliated with the project in 2009, sharing insights into Ethiopian manuscript culture and book history. Hassen currently works as a lecturer in the Arabic Program Unit in the Faculty of Humanities, Language Studies, Journalism and Communication at Addis Ababa University.  At the same time, he is a doctoral candidate in Historical Studies at UCT, researching the making of an Islamic culture of writing, reading and collecting in Ethiopia.

Ebrahiem Moos spent five years in Syria at al-Fath Institute and finished his degree at the al-Azhar University in Cairo.  He joined the project in 2006 and worked on translations of manuscripts relating to Sufism.  He received his Masters degree in Historical Studies from UCT in 2011, with a dissertation focusing on the role of miracles in a work by the renowned scholar Sidi Mukhtar al-Kunti (d. 1811).  He currently lectures in Arabic at UCT and teaches at the International Peace College of South Africa (IPSA).  His research within the project focuses on translations of texts and manuscripts from the region.  

Mauro Nobili received his PhD in African Studies at the University of Napoli l’ Orientale in 2008.  He worked on the Series Catalogorum for which he produced a full-scale catalogue of the De Gironcourt collection of West African Arabic manuscripts published in 2013.  He spent two remarkable years asa post-doctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town and researcher at the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project, conducting research focusing on the Arabic script styles displayed by West African manuscripts.  Mauro took up the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (USA) in September 2014.  He is, however, still connected to the project in the capacity of a Research Associate.

Shabnam Parker is a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Cape Town and joined Tombouctou Manuscripts Project as a research assistant in 2014. She has an active interest in aspects that relate to culture, health and illness as well as how those on the margin interact with the proverbial centre. Her current research is in the field of medical anthropology and focuses on representations and experiences of TB in a middle class setting in Cape Town, South Africa. She is particularly attentive to the ways in which aspects of spiritual healing in Islam are imbricated in the everyday lifeworlds of her research interlocutors. In addition, her past positions as a writing centre consultant and an educational development teaching assistant cultivated a tangential interest in academic literacies, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and academic mentoring.

Rifqah Kahn joined the team in August 2011 as a research and administration assistant and brings much academic and professional experience to the project. She completed her Bachelors in Social Science at UCT majoring in Psychology, Sociology and Public Administration. She graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a Masters in Social Anthropology with a focus on organisations and public cultures. Her experiences span the education, development and media sectors. Rifqah's research interests include the portrayal of Muslim women in mainstream culture, how cultural and religious identities impact how communities choose to address the challenges raised by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and understanding the global and local demands currently facing the NGO sector, and how best to mediate them.