Thursday, February 25, 2010

The work undertaken remains incomplete, partly because of the sheer quantity of manuscripts here and partly because of a resistance on behalf of the population.
Abdel Kader Haidara was more than satisfied with the team’s efforts and the result. He indicated that he would be willing to continue as our Malian consultant, should the project continue as a Major Project. He suggests that Djenné should adopt the methods of Timbuktu, and it would indeed be the natural way to progress, since Timbuktu’s manuscript collections are now well on their way to being saved for posterity. His recommendations for a Major Project include importance being placed on frequent workshops which would give the local population an opportunity to learn about various aspects of the manuscripts. In that way the owners of the collections can themselves actively become involved in the preservation of their manuscripts, and a valuable impetus will be created where the manuscripts will be regarded as something important for Djenné.
It is not possible to evaluate the importance of the new manuscripts this Pilot Study has found until they have been studied in more detail. But this eventual study, as Haidara modestly but correctly points out, is perhaps not the function of our team. We are here to preserve and to put into place a well ordered library of manuscripts, and to provide digital copies of these, in order for researchers to make use of the facilities we have created. These future researchers are the ones who will decide on the value of the documents once they have been recovered by our team during the Major Project which we hope will follow.

Sophie Sarin
24 February 2010


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