Recovering the rich local history of Kita (Mali) through the salvaging of its archival heritage (EAP1085)

Aims and objectives

The EAP820 project carried out in the archives of the Cercle of Kita (Cercle = administrative district) in August 2016 revealed an archival heritage far richer than expected with documentation dating back to the very early times of French colonization in the region (1880s), documents that cannot be found elsewhere. Yet the project also highlighted the difficulty of accessing the actual material dealing with the issue of slavery because of the overall state of conservation of the entire collection. We have certainly been allowed to assess in parts the extent of the collection focusing on colonial material (pre-1960). But it is still in dire conditions of storage and critically endangered, and thus needs urgently to be salvaged in its totality, so that the digitization of the pre-1960 colonial collection, which contains documentation on slavery and post-slavery in Kita disseminated in a wide range of documents, can be carried out. The local personal must also be trained to collect, file, preserve/digitize and communicate the collection in a functional archive service.