The team

Dr Ismaila Zangou Barazi
Dr Dmitry Bondarev (head of project)
Dr Hamadou Boly (coordinator in Bamako)
Mr Mouhamadou Almarzouk Cissé
Dr Samby Khalil Magassouba
Dr Banzoumana Traoré (coordinator at SAVAMA-DCI)

Scientific advisors:
Dr Tal Tamari, IMAF/CNRS, Paris & Université Libre de Bruxelles
Dr Lameen Souag, LACITO/CNRS, Paris

The team works in close cooperation with Dr Abdel Kader Haïdara, President of SAVAMA-DCI

Roles of the participants:

Dr Ismaila Zangou Barazi is affiliated both to the University of Bamako and to IHERIAB. He focuses on the Songhay manuscripts. His expertise as a trained linguist is an asset to all researchers on the project – especially with respect to cataloguing, in which the linguistic peculiarities of Ajami glosses must be correctly described. He speaks Arabic, Songhai, Bambara and French.

Dr Hamadou Boly is the director of the Department of Arabic Studies at the University of the Sahel, Bamako. His responsibilities include the coordination of research on a day-to-day basis and the provision of continuous academic guidance, on all issues pertaining to Arabic and Ajami manuscripts, to the team members in Bamako. He speaks Arabic, Fulfulde, Bambara, Jamsay (Diamsay) Dogon, French and English.

Mr Mouhamadou Almarzouk Cissé is an experienced teacher of Arabic from Timbuktu with strong links to many of the families owning manuscript collections in the region of Timbuktu. He conducts full time research on the identification of the Ajami manuscripts. He speaks Arabic, Fulfulde, Songhai, Bambara, Soninke, French and English.

Dr Samby Khalil Magassouba is an expert on Islamic manuscripts and the president of the “Association of the friends of the Arabic manuscripts in Mali”. His expertise is important for the identification of Soninke manuscripts, navigating through the collections in Nioro and other locations in Mali. His responsibilities include the identification of the Soninke glosses in the manuscripts and the cataloguing of such manuscripts according to the model developed in the project. He speaks Arabic, Soninke, Bambara, French and English.

Dr Banzoumana Traoré is the expert on Islamic manuscripts and the manager of SAVAMA-DCI. He assists with research on the collections in the custody of SAVAMA-DCI and especially with the identification and cataloguing of Ajami manuscripts in these collections. He also advises the project team in Bamako on manuscript cataloguing, and provides academic guidance on various issues pertaining to Arabic and Ajami manuscripts. He speaks Arabic, Bambara, Songhai, French and English.


Dr Tal Tamari is a leading historian and anthropologist specialising in the study of Islamic cultures and literatures among the Mande-speaking communities of West Africa. She helps Dmitry Bondarev with the supervision of the part of the research bearing on manuscripts in Manding and Soninke.

Dr Lameen Souag is a linguist with a wide range of expertise in West African languages and Ajami writing. He helps Dmitry Bondarev with the supervision of the part of the research bearing on manuscripts in the Songhai language.

From left to right: Dr Samby Khalil Magassouba, Dr Ismaila Zangou Barazi, Mr Mouhamadou Almarzouk Cissé, Dr Hamadou Boly,
Dr Dmitry Bondarev, Dr Banzoumana Traoré