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‘The Manuscripts of Timbuktu’ – Celebrating the Life of Ahmed Baba

‘The Manuscripts of Timbuktu’ – Celebrating the Life of Ahmed Baba

The manuscripts of Timbuktu is a picturesque and poetic journey that traces the history of the priceless manuscripts housed in a place which has become known as one of the oldest centers of learning in the world, based in Mali. These still remarkably well preserved manuscripts, are the reflections of leading teachers, philosophers, religious and scientific scholars that emanated from what was once a great city on the edge of the Sahara Desert: the still enigmatic city of Timbuktu.

It was here in Timbuktu that one of Africa’s greatest, yet seldom acknowledged or known intellectuals, teachers and political leaders lived. His name was Ahmed Baba and in our film we dramatise the major periods of his life and show how he contributed to the intellectual knowledge of the African and Arab world.

In capturing the story of Ahmed Baba and his quest to make known the great knowledge of his time, the director invokes the essence of the time and takes us right back to the fourteenth century where we trace the footsteps of this scholar and leader, in his own words. We experience the recreation of life within the city and the holy mosques; we get to find out what happened to uproot the great scholar and how he ended up in Morocco. The film asks challenging questions about religion, geo-political ties and truces, wars and how one man managed to bridge all of these. We get to know what led to the hiding of these valuable manuscripts – most of which have survived to this day – preserved and intact.

  • Duration: 52 minutes TV version, 70 minutes feature film
  • Language/s: English
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