African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes

This area links high-quality visual, contextual, and spatial documentation of African heritage sites. In partnership with the University of Cape Town, South Africa, Aluka is documenting a range of cultural and heritage sites across Africa.

Thus far, Aluka has documented a number of sites, including the Grand Mosque in Djenné, the Djingerayber Mosque in Timbuktu, the seaport of Lamu, Kilwa Kisiwani, Elmina, and two Asante temples, the rock churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia, Axum, and the stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe.

The digital library includes photographs, 3D models, GIS data, site plans, aerial and satellite photography, images of African rock art, excavation reports, manuscripts, traveller's accounts, historical and antiquarian maps, books, articles, and other published research. Bringing these resources together online enhances access to knowledge and materials otherwise difficult to access. A digital and permanent record of historical architectural structures and towns can play a vital role in the management, restoration, and reconstruction of these sites should the need arise.

Aluka initiated a project to digitally photograph Arabic and Ajami manuscripts from Timbuktu, Mali (in partnership with Northwestern University and a not-for-profit consortium of private manuscript libraries in Mali) which will be made available to scholars and students around the world for research and educational purposes.


The Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa

This area documents the liberation struggles in Southern Africa by way of selected archival documents, periodicals, nationalist publications, newspaper clippings, organisational records, personal papers of historical figures, oral histories, photographs, and other visual materials. In the first phase, the focus is on six countries: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Later phases may add materials from other countries (e.g. Tanzania and Zambia).

The Struggles for Freedom digital library will be of interest to historians, political scientists, area specialists, public policy specialists, legal scholars, and others, in Africa and elsewhere. The resource is particularly aimed at undergraduate students and their instructors, but graduate students and researchers will find it useful for further study.


African Plants

This area comprises scientific data contributed by the African Plants Initiative (API), a collaboration of more than 50 institutions in Africa, Europe, and the United States. Partnering with Aluka, API's long-term goal is to build a comprehensive online research tool aggregating and linking presently scattered scholarly resources about Africa’s flora and fauna, thereby dramatically improving access for students, scholars, and scientists around the globe.

Each plant species in the African Plants digital library is represented by high-resolution digital images of type specimens provided by participating herbaria. The African Plants database currently includes around 175,000 type specimens drawn from the estimated 60,000 plant species in Africa, Madagascar, and the other islands surrounding the African continent.