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From: "Donald Z. Osborn" <dzo@xxxxxx>
To: AfricanLanguages @ yahoogroups . com , qalam @ yahoogroups . com
Subject: "Local Alphabet to Be Launched" (Soni alphabet)
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2005 00:34:50 -0600
The following article from the Banjul bi-weekly The Independent was seen on AllAfrica.com at http://allafrica.com/stories/200502250471.html . DZO
Local Alphabet to Be Launched
The Independent (Banjul)
February 25, 2005
Posted to the web February 25, 2005
Pa Modou Secka
The Director of Nimaga African Arts Collections and the inventors of Soni Alphabet, Mr. Kaa Bully Nimaga disclosed his plan to publish a book titled Soni Alphabet. He said he had gone far in developing the alphabet into words and sentences since August 28th 1998 and an increasing number of people are learning the alphabet.
Mr. Nimaga made this disclosure during an interview with The Independent at his shop along Kairaba Avenue near Latrikunda Upper Basic School. He pointed out that he had put forward his idea of setting up a school in his native village of Kumbija in Upper River Division. This, according, to him will allow him teach more people.
He further revealed to this reporter his desire to set up branches of the school in Basse and Serrekunda.
"I have a vision, a vision of light for the world and it will be a gift for the next generations in Africa," he stated.
Mr. Nimaga went on to emphasise the need and importance for Africans to have their own homegrown written languages that would not be based on borrowed alphabets. He however said he had taken it upon himself to do something towards that direction from a dream. He expressed that almost 90 percent of his native villagers could now read his Soni Alphabet, which he promised to spread across the country out of his eight years experience abroad. Mr. Nimaga who is preparing to travel overseas to publish the book on Soni Alphabet is urging the government to emulate and support the local alphabetical language for The Gambia and Africa at large.
During the interview with the reporter, he lavishly displayed the progress made on his 28-letter alphabet with a draft of the book he produced on the Soni writing.
"The idea of the alphabet came to me through a dream which I took at the right time, right place and the right person," he said.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that he set his mind at work and translated the dream into reality. Sounding like a philosopher, he spoke of his invention as a vision from God that would serve as light to the continent.
According to Mr. Nimaya, beside the basic religious teachings he received in his childhood at home level, he had never attended any formal education. He described his invention as a gift from God.
He invited people from government, NGOs, individuals to support him in the form of ideas or otherwise to enrich the invention. Mr. Nimaga who is forty-seven has travelled widely across the world collecting and dealing in African antiques and art crafts products.
He was born in Kumbija village in Upper River Division (URD).
According to Mr. Nimaya, his numbers and 28 letter alphabet would be taught and spread out to the people across The Gambia so that with time he hopes Gambians and Africans would be able to read, write and count in their own language and in writings developed by their own people.
"I want to ensure that I leave something behind before I die that will be beneficial to the people," he philosophically stated.
Kaa Bully is a businessman who deals in African antiques and other art products. He mainly operates in America where he took part in many exhibitions.
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