Timbuktu ~ Mali
Dr Abdelkader Haidara is founder and Executive President of SAVAMA DCI, an association of family libraries committed to public access, which coordinated the evacuation of approximately 2000 boxes of manuscripts belonging to 35 families from Timbuktu. In the beginning of October 2012 SAVAMA DCI warned that evacuation of the manuscripts had become inevitable after extremist groups destroyed important tombs in Timbuktu occupying the Northern Malian city.
The manuscripts are valued for the knowledge they represent. They contain scholarly writing from a period of free thinking as far back as the 10th century when Timbuktu was an African centre of learning and trade. Malians are proud of these physical remnants of science and culture which play an important role in Malian society today. Dr Abdelkader Haidara is currently developing plans to further secure the manuscripts that are now kept in safe houses until they can return to their rightful owners in Timbuktu.
Dr Haidara is a renowned expert on Islamic manuscripts and a former employee of the Ahmed Baba Institute (IHERI-AB) which was partially burned by extremists chased out of Timbuktu. After leaving the Achmed Baba Institute he devoted all of his time and energy to preserve his own family’s manuscript collection and was successful in setting up the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library, which was the first of its kind in Mali.