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Manuscripts

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Images of Africa's Collective Memory Project Manuscripts

Manuscripts kept in the archives of the Cheikh Anta Diop Library for 40 years (!) by Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III! The latter had received them from the hands of Paul Helmlinger, a French missionary catechist, school teacher, author of the famous duala-french dictionary with a French-duala lexicon, and of some other works on the grammar of the duala language. On his definite return to France, Helmlinger had built up a whole library of books in the Duala language, and when he met them in Strasbourg, he entrusted the Prince with the present manuscripts, which are the handwritten collections of his Cameroonian students from the coast in the Duala language. These texts deal with the traditions, customs, philosophy, spirituality, jurisdiction and history of the Cameroonian peoples of the coast before colonisation. Mr. Helmlinger, who was no longer going to set foot in Cameroon, saw in Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III the right person to entrust the fate of these unique and precious manuscripts to.

It took forty years of patience, tenacity and careful conservation, especially in the humid climate of the city of Douala, for the contents of these manuscripts to be made available to the people and to science through the Africa's Collective Memory Project, a project whose relevance was immediately recognised by the German Gerda Henkel Stiftung, a partner and provider of funds.

These writings have been transcribed according to the standards of the General Alphabet of Cameroonian Languages AGLC, published in the original language (duala) in the book "Dimbambe La Sawa" whose article can be found here. This book will be translated into English and German. It has already been translated into French and the publication of this translation by Editions AfricAvenir is forthcoming. To read an excerpt of the French translation, click here

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The AfricAvenir International Foundation is an International Non-Governmental Non-Profit Organization based in Douala, Cameroon, whose objective is to work for the African Renaissance, Endogenous Development, International Cooperation and Sustainable Peace. Founded in 1986 by its promoter the Prince and Professor Kum'a Ndumbe III.

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