Fri Oct 21 15:07:11 CAT 2016

Africa's ancient riches in Gift to Timbuktu

By unknown | Feb 16, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

During a stint in the corporate world I had the privilege to work with scientists from National Geographic.

I was assigned to the Genographic Project, which held a scientific conference in South Africa in 2006.

Its ground-breaking research traces all human beings, white and black, to Africa through analysing their genes. So, we are all connected to one individual who lived in East Africa 60000 years ago.

This was an eye-opener to a mere writer with a cursory grip and interest in anything scientific. Rubbing shoulders with the scientists, opened my unscientific log jam.

I connected what I already knew from books and other scholars that Africa led Europe in science in ancient times.

So this is why I am looking forward to Special Assignment tomorrow at 9.30pm on SABC3.

The programme will take viewers into ancient African civilisation.

South Africa has played an important role in bringing the information into the public domain, mainly through Thabo Mbeki's African Renaissance project.

Gift to Timbuktu is the story of one of the greatest projects of cooperation between two African countries in a bid to preserve the continent's ancient treasures.

Last month, President Kgalema Motlanthe, former president Thabo Mbeki and a high-powered government delegation witnessed the culmination of six years of work by the South Africa-Mali project to preserve the ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu.

The project has restored 20000 ancient manuscripts, authored as far back as the 13th century when Timbuktu was a centre of learning and scholarship in West Africa.

The manuscripts, which contain Islamic law, history, biology and medicine expose the myth that the continent has no written history.

The Presidency and private donors raised more than R60million to fund the Ahmed Baba Institute.


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