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CUT celebrates Africa Day to Promote, Unearth and Preserve African Heritage



CUT celebrates Africa Day to Promote, Unearth and Preserve African Heritage

CUT celebrates Africa Day to Promote, Unearth and Preserve African Heritage. On 24 May 2024, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CUT) celebrated Africa Day with a special focus on promoting, unearthing, and preserving the African Heritage. The event highlighted the importance of African intellectualism and the preservation of historical documents from the continent.

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The Book Launch: Preserving African Manuscripts

One of the key highlights of the celebration was a book launch hosted by the Library and Information Services. Three booklets, translated from manuscripts discovered in Timbuktu, Mali, were unveiled. The booklets, titled The Book of Saints, The Benefits of Plants, and the Description of Timbuktu CityT, were translated into English by the African Intellectual Heritage Institute. This initiative aims to encourage a deeper understanding of precolonial African intellectualism.

Conservation Efforts and Translation Process

Mary Minicka, Head of Preservation for the Western Cape Archives and Records Service, shared insights into the conservation process of the historical documents and manuscripts from Timbuktu. She highlighted the importance of understanding the West African Islamic manuscript structure, which includes writing from right to left and the foredge flap. Minicka emphasized the need for thorough research to make informed conservation decisions, ensuring that the manuscripts are preserved authentically.

Unlocking the African Intellectual Tradition

Ikhraam Osman, Business Manager at the African Intellectual Heritage Institute, expressed the institute’s goal of promoting a deeper understanding and appreciation of precolonial African intellectualism. Osman emphasized the importance of utilizing this knowledge to expand African intellectualism in contemporary society. He stressed the value of translating and utilizing the preserved manuscripts to learn about the past and apply that knowledge to the future.

The Value of Historical Indigenous Knowledge

Sheikh Hamid Fernana, Translator and Scholar, highlighted the value of historical indigenous knowledge found in the translated manuscripts. He emphasized that in the past, manuscripts were considered more valuable than gold in Timbuktu. Fernana praised the attitude towards knowledge in Timbuktu, where learning spaces were arranged in circles, known as the ‘circle of knowledge.’ He emphasized the ethical purpose of knowledge, which was to serve mankind, and praised their reverence for teachers, whom they regarded as prophets of God.


The celebration of Africa Day at CUT was not just a commemoration but a reaffirmation of the importance of preserving and promoting Africa’s rich intellectual heritage. The efforts to translate and preserve manuscripts from Timbuktu serve as a testament to the continent’s enduring legacy of knowledge and wisdom.

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