College of Fellows Lecture
Posted by: Lonnie Hovey, AIA, FAPT, NCARB on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 9:00:00 am
Legend says that the mosque is located on the land of a palace where a king converted to Islam. Since its founding, it has undergone much political strife, namely a Foulani sheik’s invasion and abandonment of the mosque. The audience nearly gasped when Mr. Marchand said that the Sheik knew he could not demolish the mosque, but artfully arranged to have the rain spouts blocked so that the heavy rains would cause the mud-packed structure to deteriorate.. It was wonderful to see how the mosque has been an important center of its community and especially the annual mud-coating events that involved all members of the community. The mosque was restored through the Aga Khan Foundation, but not without strife and riots when the most dis-enfranchised members of the community were not aware of what was being done, and instead thought that the workers were vandalizing the mosque or that local officials were corrupt and allowing their patrimony to be destroyed. A riot erupted that destroyed much property, including parts of the mosque and work was halted for a while. We learned how important it was for the team to work with the local, indigenous peoples and how their customs were most important towards the preservation and maintenance of the mosque.