By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 27, 2017
Many Trinidadians and Tobagonians of my generation can remember when, in a rage or disagreement, an antagonist uttered the insult: “Go to Timbuktu!” It was a term that suggested one should be banished into ignominy and sent into the dungeon of stupidity.
Experience and education have taught me that Timbuktu, an important seat of learning between the 12th and 16th centuries, was one of the most important educational and cultural centers in the world. In its Golden age, the town’s numerous Islamic scholars and extensive trading network made possible an important book trade. There were campuses of the Sankore Madrasah, an Islamic university. At its height, as many as 25,000 students, a quarter of the city’s population, studied there.
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