Black People : Attempts to revive Timbuktu

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Ankhur, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Oct 4, 2009
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    owner of various real estate concerns
    In Timbuktu
    Another key development this week — the launch of a new Institute in Timbuktu, Mali — provides a timely reminder that knowledge production is not a new phenomenon in Africa. Timbuktu, often thought of as a remote place, was in fact Africa's ancient center for learning. Reclaiming this legacy, Timbuktu now is home to the Ahmed Baba Institute, built to honor, protect, and celebrate Africa's ancient manuscripts while also resurrecting Africa's legacy as an intellectual powerhouse.

    In the 15th and 16th centuries, Timbuktu was the preeminent center for learning and intellectual life. The University of Sankoré, one of three universities in Timbuktu, was once one of the best centers of learning in the world. Centuries before Harvard and Yale, the Sankoré had facilities to accommodate 25,000 students and boasted one of the largest libraries in the world, with between 400,000 to 700,000 manuscripts. Students from all over the world came to learn about science, mathematics, geography, religion, philosophy, and more. At one time, books were the most valuable commodity in the city with numerous libraries throughout the community and private book collections in homes of local scholars.

    With the onset of colonialism, the Sankoré and many other African institutions were decimated. Western universities and mainstream media further denigrated Africa's knowledge centers. Today, much of the genius of Sankoré is in disarray. However, over the last few years, leading families of Timbuktu, civil society leaders, and Malian scholars have been working with the Malian government to resurrect and reclaim the powerful legacy of Timbuktu. These efforts culminated in the opening of the state-of-the-art library at the Ahmed Baba Institute,
    with its over 100,000 handwritten manuscripts dating back as far as the 12th century.

    Capturing traditional knowledge (from Timbuktu and elsewhere on the continent) and generating new ideas (via new institutions that bring a common Africa platform) will position Africa well in this 21st century. We must, as the Tunis Forum convener Abdoulaye Bathily, Senegalese academic and former minister of environment, urges "redefine Africa's development paradigm, and above all, support the emergence of new practices and citizen actions in Africa's public space." Far from the media spotlight, these new practices are taking root in Africa.

    The caveat "attempt" is used due to 2 outside interests funding the institution, Kuwait and UNESCO, which causes one to understand that a greater input of Traditional African Culture and Religion is imperative in order to give any African intellectual center any real relevance for future generations