President Thabo Mbeki to host Malian President Amadou Toumani
Toure in Tshwane
Tshwane - South African President Thabo Mbeki will, together
with his Malian counterpart Amadou Toumani Toure, address the South Africa-Mali
Timbuktu Fundraising Dinner at the Presidential Guesthouse in Tshwane on Saturday,
1 October 2005.
President Toure will arrive in South Africa later today
Friday, 30 September 2005 ahead of the South Africa-Mali Timbuktu Fundraising
The SA-Mali Timbuktu project originated during President Mbeki's
State Visit to Mali in November 2001, during which he toured the Ahmed Baba Institute
in Timbuktu which contains one of the most important collections of medieval Arabic-script
manuscripts in Africa, if not the world.
Unfortunately the facilities at
the institute are inadequate and the manuscripts in poor condition. President
Mbeki, inspired by the cultural importance of these manuscripts for the African
Renaissance, pledged South Africa's support for the conservation of the manuscripts
and the upgrading of the infrastructure of the institute.
In August 2002,
the South African and Malian Governments signed an agreement expressing the two
countries' commitment to undertake a government-to-government project aimed at
conserving the manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute and at rebuilding the library
and archival infrastructure of the Ahmed Baba Institute.
The dinner is part
of South Africa's concerted efforts, in collaboration with the Government of Mali,
to raise funds from South African business and the public for the preservation
and protection of the Timbuktu manuscripts as well as the rebuilding of the archival
and library infrastructure.
The South African Presidential Project to restore
and conserve the invaluable Timbuktu manuscripts represents the first official
cultural project of NEPAD. In this regard, President Mbeki on Tuesday, 27 September
2005 said the, "joint project was initiated by the governments of South Africa
and Mali as part of our contribution to the renaissance of Africa."
Presidential Project includes the training of Malian heritage professionals and
conservators, while a team of academics, including South Africans, are busy studying
The training of conservationists of Mali has proceeded
successfully and the building of a new Ahmed Baba Centre off the Sankore Square
in Timbuktu will commence in the near future.
President Toure will depart
from South Africa on Sunday, 2 October 2005.
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on
082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152