War, natural disaster and the ravages of time threaten the very existence of this literature. In Mali, though the manuscripts may have been saved by a hair’s breadth from instant destruction, they are still at risk from neglect, deterioration, and the encroachment of the desert sands. The Ethiopian manuscripts face similar dangers: a 2011 British Library report on the monastic collection at East Gojjam found that the manuscripts were “in danger of being eaten by rats or insects… exposed to damage from rainwater… [stored] unlocked, or locked only with cheap locks, which can easily be broken or forced open.” For centuries, the seclusion of monastery libraries and the isolation of Timbuktu have helped to preserve intact collections that could otherwise have been scattered and lost. However, strategies must now be developed both to preserve them for posterity and to improve access to one of Africa’s precious resources.
Read more at the eLearning Africa News Portal: http://www.elearning-africa.com/eLA_Newsportal/world-book-day/