Luo Lakeside Script

Lakeside Script

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The Luo Lakeside Script was developed by Kefa Ombewa in Kenya (with help from graphic designer Will Were and Paul Sidandi, who created a numeral system) between 2009 and 2012 as a unique, non-Latin way to write the Dholuo language — so as to, in Ombewa’s word, decolonize African culture.

“I was interested in making sure that African societies, and in this case particularly Luo, also have their own script.”

It was publicly launched by Kefa Ombewa in an interview on the Kenya Television Network in 2014.

“When you introduce the font to people,” Ombewa said, “I usually have two extreme responses: either someone who really wants to learn [the script], and wants to help me, or the people who are very averse to it.

“I want to make it an African script. If the Luo want to enjoy the script and own it, I don’t mind, but it is an African script… I envision an Africa that is delatinized all the way from West Africa to East Africa.”

It is unclear how widely the script has been taught and adopted, but a fairly active comments thread in the script can be seen at http://www.kefaombewa.com/, and Maureen Oyuga’s book of Luo words written in the Lakeside script and translated into English, has sold nearly a thousand copies.

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