Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Timbuktu - The place where the Western "Songs and Dance Theory" of Black people ends
Because we are in the middle of the Black History Month UK a story about the mystical place Timbuktu.
"Everybody's heard of Timbuktu but few people actually know where it is and even fewer ever get there. Everyone knows that it's a long way from here to Timbuktu, wherever "here" might be," wrote a travel journalist.
Well Timbuktu lies in the country of Mali and it’s the place where the Western "songs and dance theory" of African people ends. Because in Timbuktu you will find the hidden libraries and manuscripts of the ancient black scholars of one of the oldest Universities on the planet.
Aminatta Forna tells the story of legendary Timbuktu and its long hidden legacy of hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. With its university founded around the same time as Oxford, Timbuktu is proof that the reading and writing of books have long been as important to Africans as to Europeans. The manuscripts of Timbuktu cover diverse subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, physics, optics, astronomy, medicine, Islamic sciences, history, geography, the tradition of Islam's Prophet Mohammed, government legislation and treatise, jurisprudence, and much more. The manuscripts of Timbuktu are a living testimony of the highly advanced and refined civilization in Sub-Saharan Africa. But although this heritage is familiar to numerous Africans, many Westerners still believe that Africa had only an oral, nonliterate culture. Comments like those made by the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper in 1963 still resonate: "Perhaps in the future, there will be some African history to teach. But at present there is none. There is only the history of Europeans in Africa. The rest is darkness." In reality, Timbuktu was once a haven of high literacy. These manuscripts, some dating to the 14th century and written mostly in Arabic, show that medieval Timbuktu was a religious and cultural hub as well as a commercial crossroads on the trans-Saharan caravan route. Situated at the strategic point where the Sahara touches on the River Niger, it was the gateway for African goods bound for the merchants of the Mediterranean, the courts of Europe and the larger Islamic world, wrote Lila Azam Zanganeh in the New York times. Read more about this video at hwww.fordfoundation.org Links http://www.timbuktufoundation.org . The post was inspired by the Afro-Brazilian site http://www.casadasafricas.com.br