Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Bété alphabet of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré

One of the more interesting artists who I’ve had the pleasure to meet is Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, also known as Cheick Nadro.  He passed away in 2014 at the age of 90; his son Olivier called me with the sad news in January of that year.  I was fortunate to have met with him in 2009 with the assistance of Francis Tagro Gnoleba and Tombekai Sherman at Bouabré’s house in Yopougon.  A small sample of the iconic pictographic alphabet that he was inspired to invent can be found here.  A more extensive review of the entirety of his work can be found in this four-volume text, published in 2013.  The Yale copy is non-circulating, but scans of chapters may be requested.  Other libraries that hold this work in the U.S. include Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Northwestern University.  The text includes an extensive bibliography.

Update #1 (4/12/16):  I believe the text linked to below has not been published anywhere; it is apparently a continuation from three cahiers written about by Théodore Monod and Denis Escudier.  If I am mistaken and it has already been published, please contact me to let me know and I will comply with a request to take it down.  I just talked with Olivier Bouabré, who asked me to send him a link, and I believe this is what he is looking for.


Update #2 (5/12/16):  Audio recitation of the invented pictographic alphabet by Bouabré in his own voice, part 1:

and part 2:

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Links to texts drafted by El Hadj Assane Faye using the Garay script for the Wolof language


These texts by Assane Faye were digitized by me (Charles Riley) in Dakar in 2009 at Faye’s house.  They are all in Wolof, on a variety of subjects, from mathematics to social morals to animal tales.  I think number four is on political philosophy.  They merit further study and more attention than what I can give them at the moment.

FayeMS1 FayeMS2 FayeMS3 FayeMS4 FayeMS5

Update #1 (5/12/16):  Audio recitation of the sounds of the invented alphabet by Faye, in his own voice:

And some links to audio of comments made at a press conference given by Faye in 2009:

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