The University of Sankoré, or Sankore Masjid is one of three ancient centers of learning located in TimbuktuMaliWest Africa. The three mosques of Sankoré, Djinguereber Mosque and Sidi Yahya compose the famous University of Timbuktu. During the 14th -16th century, Sankore University enrolled more foreigen students than New York University today. 

The Mali Empire gained direct control over the city of Timbuktu in 1324 during the reign of Mansa Kankou Musa also known as Musa I “King of Kings”. He designed and saw the construction of one of Sankore’s first great mosques and the Jingeray Ber Masjid in 1327.The foundations of the previous structure were laid around 988 A.D. on the orders of the city’s chief judge Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar. A local mandinka lady, esteemed for her wealth, financed his plans to turn Sankoré into a world class learning institution. 

By the end of Mansa Musa’s reign (early 14th century CE), the Sankoré Masjid had been converted into a fully staffed Madrassa (Islamic school or in this case university) with the largest collections of books in Africa since the Library of Alexandria. The level of learning at Timbuktu’s Sankoré University was superior to that of all other Islamic centers in the world. The Sankoré Masjid was capable of housing 25,000 students and had one of the largest libraries in the world with between 400,000 to 700,000 manuscripts.

Today, the intellectual legacy of Timbuktu is neglected in historical discours. These pages of WORLD history tend to get ripped out.   . 


Foreign Language Oscars 2015: Africa

These are the five African films submitted to the Academy for the Foreign Language Oscar.

Mauritania is submitting for the very first time!

Egypt, The Factory Girl (dir. Mohamed Khan)
Ethiopia, Difret (dir. Zeresenay Berhane Mehari)
Mauritania, Timbuktu (dir. Abderrahmane Sissako)
Morocco, The Red Moon (dir. Hassan Benjelloun)
South Africa, Elelwani (dir. Ntshavheni wa Luruli)

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The Manuscripts of Timbuktu.

For Centuries it was taught that Africa & Africans had no written history, literature or philosophy (claiming Egypt was other than African). In this picture we see  1 MILLION manuscripts that were found in the many Libraries of Timbuktu/Mali covering , according to Reuters “all the fields of human knowledge: law, the sciences, medicine,”. Some of the Manuscripts date back to the 13th Century.

This is just one of many examples of written word in Africa which is the most culturally and ethnically diverse continent on the planet.

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The Ancient Libraries of Timbuktu

Examples of Ancient African writing systems

Ancient manuscripts from Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Sudan and Nigeria line storage cases at Abdel Kader Haidara’s home, the director of Bibliotheque Mama Haidara De Manuscripts, Timbuktu. These manuscripts are waiting their turn to be cataloged and added to the library collection. Inside them is a history of Africa from the 11th century onwards, with dialogue on Islam, trade, history, the law and so on. Image by Brent Stirton, National Geographic, September 2009.

Article from pulitzercenter.org


My 10 favourite films of 2015.

1. Son of Saul (Dir. László Nemes)

2. Carol (Dir. Todd Haynes)

3. Inside Out (Dir. Pete Doctor)

4. Mad Max: Fury Road (Dir. George Miller)

5. Anomalisa (Dir. Charlie Kaufman)

6. The Lobster (Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

7. Brooklyn (Dir. John Crowley)

8. Our Little Sister (Dir. Hirokazu Koreeda)

9. The Hateful Eight (Dir. Quentin Tarantino)

10. The Revenant (Dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu)

Top 50

BONUS: 10 Least Favourite 

This is Mansa Musa. A Muslim ruler from Mali, who is considered THE richest man in the history of the world. His fortune of $400 billion was 5 times more valuable than that of today’s richest man, Bill Gates. 

“Musa made his pilgrimage (Hajj) in 1324, his procession reported to include 60,000 men, 12,000 slaves who each carried four-pounds of gold bars, heralds dressed in silks who bore gold staffs, organized horses and handled bags. Musa provided all necessities for the procession, feeding the entire company of men and animals. Also in the train were 80 camels, which varying reports claim carried between 50 and 300 pounds of gold dust each. He gave away the gold to the poor he met along his route. Musa not only gave to the cities he passed on the way to Mecca, including Cairo and Medina, but also traded gold for souvenirs. Furthermore, it has been recorded that he built a mosque each and every Friday.”

This is history that they won’t teach you in school. 

Mr Birling: What. Is. Going. On?
Arthur: Nothing! Nothing’s going on! We’re in Timbuktu, and everything’s totally normal and you can get pizzas anywhere these days, and camels are really shy actually and it’s nothing like Sardinia, which I’ve never been to, and I’m not going to, and I’m definitely not in now!


Watch the new trailer for Abderrahmane Sissako’s TIMBUKTU, Mauritania’s official entry for the 2015 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

Coming to cinemas in 2015!