Sunday, February 2, 2014

Africa alphabet: Readability plus with African flavor

The ABC’s are used creatively throughout Africa.  They form the Swahili words that unite nations along the eastern coast, they transliterate dozens of local African languages, and they communicate in English or French.  By modifying the Roman letter shapes, written words can express African art through bold colors, improvised forms, and strong symbols.  

Using the letters below, you can assemble paper collages, appliqué initials, piece quilts, stitch names, and design many other projects that combine Roman readability with authentic African visual flavor. 

Useful Swahili words that form the basis of special occasions: 

“hongera,” congratulations 
“ujinga” wisdom
“amandla” we shall overcome 
“furaha” joy 
“nakupenda” I love you 
“oxolu” peace  
“ndio” yes
“chakula ni maisha”food is life
“kupika” the cook 
“pamoja” together 


  1. Check out the calligraphy project tomorrow: preview it where it first appeared: