It’s not as sexy as saving ancient manuscripts from Islamists, but these manuscrips need rescue from humidity and bad storage, according to Dr. Abdel Kader Haïdara, of the SAVAMA-DCI (Protection and Exploitation of Manuscripts for the Defense of Islamic Culture) project, which works to protect manuscripts in Timbuktu and beyond:The project aims to save over 300,000 manuscripts. According to Dr. Stéphanie Diakité, the manuscripts of Timbuktu are from the 13th through the 19th centuries, and are a corpus of religious, scientific, philosophical and artistic works, and include “tales, poems and music treaties.”Most were written in Arabic, by Africans, although some originated in Andalusia or the Mashreq.
Diakite told Star Africa: “The purpose of the crowdfunding effort is to ensure the preservation of the physical integrity of the manuscripts. Each one of them needs to be put in special boxes equipped with a system against humidity. Rain[y] season will begin soon in Mali, the preservation action is thus of the utmost urgency. The crowdfunding campaign that has been launched on the 21st of May, 2013, and is due to end on the 20th of June[.]“