Sunday, 14 April 2019


Developed to increase literacy and bring about cultural cohesion among the Manding language speakers of West Africa, Guinean author Souleymane Kante (ߛߏߎߟߋߦߑߡߊߣߋ ߞߊ߲ߕߋ), the N’ko script (ߒߞߏ‎, I say in all the family dialects) was finalised on this day in 1949 and disseminated throughout Guinea, the Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire.
While it bears some similarities to Arabic writing in that it reads from right to left and letters are connected with ligatures, Kante (*1922 - †1987) crafted the script to communicate the special features of the common language and is today regarded as one of the best integrated and most successful of the modern syllabaries, with native writers and readers also digital natives, adapted for computer use since the early 1990s. The title is the N’ko punctuation mark called gbakurunen, the three stones that balance a cooking pot over a flame, and indicates the end to a section of text and separate subchapters, like an asterism (⁂).