Mandinka Ajami Texts Available Online

Where can one find Mandinka Ajami documents? That is, where can one find Mandinka language texts written in Arabic script?


“A short Mandinka Ajami manuscript, which contains special prayers and techniques used to address specific problems.”

Ngom, Fallou, Castro, Eleni, & Diakité, Ablaye. (2018). African Ajami Library: EAP 1042. Digital Preservation of Mandinka Ajami Materials of Casamance, Senegal. Boston: Boston University Libraries:


Not too long ago, one could only consult a handful research articles to learn about, let alone consult, a Mandinka Ajami document. (By “Mandinka” I mean the major western Manding variety spoken primarily in the Senegambia region and not Jula, Bambara or Maninka/Malinké.) But now there’s some readily consultable collections that have been digitized and are already on the internet:

Mandinka Ajami and Arabic Manuscripts of Casamance Senegal (BU)

A part of Boston University’s African Ajami Library, this collection stems from a project funded by British Library’s Endangered Archive program and led by Fallou Ngom.

  • It’s not the easiest collection to browse through, but as of 2019-08-23, it is made up of three sub-collections from particular scholars’ libraries.

  • Each sub-collection includes manuscripts, images of the community, and video interviews about the manuscripts with their owners.

Mandinka Documents (ASK-DL)

Hosted by Harvard, this collection stems from the "Africa’s Sources of Knowledge - Digital Library” project of John Mugane that was funded by the US Department of Education through its Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) program.

  • Oddly the collection is not directly accessible from the project’s homepage so I wasn’t originally aware of it until recently despite having known of the project for years.

  • It is made up of 20th century documents of three broad types: the personal letters of 3 scholars, poetry, and esoteric medical consultation documents.

In the future, I’ll try to update this post or make it intro a proper page with further references.