The Tombouctou Manuscripts Project, first conceptualised in 2002, was officially established in 2003 to research and document manuscript traditions in Africa.
Over the past years, a Project team has been involved in the study of manuscript traditions in Africa, including manuscript translation, digitalisation and historical studies of book and library traditions. View more detailed information on the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project.
Although the Project incorporates researchers from Africa and beyond, who are involved in studies of book history and manuscript traditions of Africa, the core team is based at South Africa’s University of Cape Town.
The Project team is led by Prof Shamil Jeppie. Meet our team members.
The Project focuses on manuscript traditions throughout the African continent, however, it was initially inspired by the written heritage of Timbuktu – a town that lies in the bend of the Niger River, where the Sahara Desert meets the Sahel (a semi-arid region south of the Sahara).
Historically Timbuktu was an important centre of commerce and learning and, in contemporary times, has become a key symbol of African literary heritage. To learn more about Timbuktu, click here.