Source: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly
On October 3, 2003 Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reported, "For most Americans, Timbuktu has long stood for, well, nowhere -- a place far, far away, probably in fiction. But deep in the West African nation of Mali, where the savannah grasslands meet the Sahara, lies Timbuktu. It's an impoverished town of about 30,000, most of them nomadic traders or subsistence farmers. But Timbuktu is rich in history -- history that contradicts a commonly held impression in the West that sub-Saharan Africa has only oral and no written traditions."