Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Afrika

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Mark Batty, 2004 - Design - 169 pages
2 Reviews
Afrikan alphabets have a long history, fantastic variety, and some continue to be in current use today. They are comparatively little known due largely to their suppression by colonial powers. This book sets the record straight. An entertaining and anecdotal text explains the wealth of highly graphical and attractive illustrations. Writing systems across the Afrikan continent are reviewed: the scripts of the West Africans - Mende, Vai, Nsibidi, Bamum and the Somali, and Ethiopian scripts are included, analyzed and illustrated. Other alphabets, writing styles, paintings, pictographs, ideographs, and symbols are compared and contrasted. All the writing systems are put into the context of their use as a means to impart and record information and to communicate complex ideas.

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Review: Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Africa

User Review  - James Coleby - Goodreads

An excellent book and one of a kind, literally as there is no other book that I know of that has soo many indigenous African scripts. Read full review

Review: Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Africa

User Review  - Ruth-Ann - Goodreads

I was enthused about the topic but disappointed by the execution. The author is a graphic artist, not a linguist or historian, and what he's put together is not a "story" so much as a scrapbook of ... Read full review


Roots of Afrikan Alphabets
Akan Gold Weights
Historical Afrikan Alphabets

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References to this book

Design Studies
Audrey Bennett
Limited preview - 2006
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About the author (2004)

Saki Mafundikwa is a graphic designer, typographer and design educator. He hold an MFA from Yale University and worked and taught in New York City before returning to Zimbabwe to found that country's first graphic design and new media college, the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts.

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