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From: Mazi

"What motivated you to start this?"

Well I was pretty surprised and excited that there was a writing system that existed right in the Equatorial forest somewhere (no matter in what development stage).

First of all, let me say that I jumped into writing systems first through Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana scripts of the Chinese/Japanese, with emphasis on Kanji which is used by both countries. I always though 'it would have been great if the Igbo/Efik/Ibibio etc ever invented a script they used in writing'. Kanji in particular is logographic which really just means that they are picture signs (Don't worry, there's a point to this). Well I can't say that I did not know of Nsibidi before my interest in Kanji, but many sources (both 'formal' and 'informal') had left an impression in my mind that Nsibidi were just random patterns (of course this can also be due to my lack of understanding then of how different writing systems work). Kanji helped me a lot in understanding the difference between an Alphabet and a writing system (it is a very common mistake to mix the two). Before Kanji and further interest in writing, I did not know that there were Abugida and logographic writing systems (although I'd seen them).

Where does this lead? Well with the little more knowledge I had of writing I became interested in Nsibidi again and through some searching I found some very old sources that documented the Nsibidi themselves, the meaning of the Nsibidi, and most importantly for me then, the uses of Nsibidi. Nsibidi was used to record court dates, that was what set it off for me. 'Nsibidi can be used everyday like Kanji is', 'Like Katakana and Hiragana, which are syllabary off-shoots of Kanji through short-notes, Nsibidi can develop some syllabary that would ensure that a person can write without thousands of Nsibidi characters, or the Roman script, but will still be preserving a legacy with every stroke'.

The last motivation (and probably the paramount one) is that with a writing script that has been proven to be thousands of years old, the Igbo language (as well as the Ibibio language and other related languages) would firmly place itself in the world making sure that at least a bit more people learn these languages. The children may also start to appreciate their languages a bit more, maybe when they see their native script on a shirt or even a billboard they'd pay attention to their native language!


  1. Bravo nna! This is outstanding. Please keep it up. I will be in contact later for a billboard idea if you don't mind. Jisi nu ike.

  2. That's a cool idea. Thanks.



This blog is about African writing, the nsibidi script. This website include many nsibidi symbols meaning a lot of different things. All images do not hold a copyright unless indicated so. You can copy, distribute, and sell any information/images you find on this website. Public Domain.