Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Good news for the Djenne Manuscripts!

I went to visit the new head of the Djenne Mission Culturelle today . This institution is put in place to safeguard Djenne’s UNESCO world heritage status. There  are Missions Culturelles in all the towns of historical and cultural importance in Mali, such as  Timbuktu, Gao,  Segou etc. and now also Kangaba, south of Bamako in the Pays Mande.  Monsieur  Mahamane Djetteye worked in Timbuktu before. He is a huge improvement on his predecessor here who was thankfully removed from the post.
 I liked M.  Djetteye a lot, not only because he had the good grace of flattering me hugely: There were three people he wanted to meet who had something to do with Djenne’s cultural heritage, he said. There are also three different fields of this heritage. To start with there is important architecture in Djenne. The person associated with putting Djenne on the map in this field is Pier Maas, the Dutch architect who was instrumental in achieving UNESCO world heritage status for  the town. Secondly  Djenne is very important as an archaeological site, and here M. Djetteye said he would like to meet Madame Macintosh, one half of the archaeologist couple who changed the way that history looks at sub Saharan West Africa  because of their work in Djenne. Finally he said that the third field of importance for Djenne as a site of important cultural heritage is the manuscripts. And that in this field he had wanted to meet me, the champion of the  Djenne Manuscripts! I was of course immensely gratified to be placed  as the third person in such a distinguished trinity....He rightly  said that the manuscripts of Djenne had not yet taken the place in the consciousness of people that they deserve: we have been working with the British Library project here since 2009 and the Ministry of Culture is not even aware of our existence! but that this is now going to change.  And   with someone of this caliber to help, perhaps it will...


Blogger Susan Scheid said...

This is such good news! And your photograph of a manuscript shows just how important this.

12:52 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

thank you Susan, always so kind and encouraging!

3:09 PM  
Blogger KJ999 said...

Good news!!!

7:34 AM  

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