African Writing Systems Before Europeans
Nearly 5,000 years before Christ was born, Proto-writing was well-established form of written expression in North and West Africa.
The dominance of European languages through colonialism has led to the mistaken belief that the written languages in Africa did not exist before the arrival of Europeans. However, Africa has the world’s oldest and largest collection of ancient Symbolic and Writing Systems.
Here are five African symbolic and writing systems you should know about to dispel the myth that Africans were illiterate people before European colonialism.
5 Ancient African Symbolic and Writing Systems
|Proto-writing is symbolic communication|
Dated 5000BC - 3000 BC
Before the Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations, there were inscriptions labeled proto-Saharan. Nearly 5,000 years before Christ was born, Proto-writing was well-established form of written expression near the near the Kharga Oasis in the Libyan Desert of Africa. Proto-writing is symbolic communication which the reader understands the symbol as a written expression.
Dated 4000 BC - 600 AD
Dated 2000 BC - 1400 BC
|Proto-Sinaitic was the first consonantal alphabet.|
Dated 300 BC - 300 AD
|Tifinagh is the Berber name for the ancient Libyan Alphabet.|
Dated 400 AD - 1400 AD
|Nsibidi script comprises |
nearly a thousand symbols.
Did you know?
Proto-writing is different from True writing. True writing is information of verbal sound sets that the reader must structure the exact sound written down in order to understand the meaning. In True writing systems, a person must understand something of the spoken language to comprehend the text.
"There are truths on one side of the world which are falsehoods on the other" - African Proverb